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The Podium

Tuesday, November 02

“A Crazy Quilt of Rules”

By Brad

With Republicans now controlling the House — and legislative gridlock predicted for tech policy — the most vocal advocates of net neutrality are expected to lobby hard for FCC Chairman Genachowski to move ahead with Title II regulations. At Roll Call, Larry Downes warns that would be a disastrous move:

Waxman’s proposal to end the stalemate was far less dangerous than the ill-advised gambit Genachowski proposed in May. To overcome the court decision, Genachowski threatened to unilaterally reclassify broadband access as a telephone service under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

That move would treat Internet access as if it were old-style phone service, subject to a crazy quilt of rules last dusted off before the 1984 breakup of the old telephone monopoly.

Legal scholars, unions and a bipartisan majority of Congress unequivocally counseled Genachowski not to move forward with reclassification. The proposal went quiet. But now, panicky net neutrality extremists want him to finish the job.

Downes full column is worth checking out.