CALinnovates: Hill Must Resolve Net Neutrality Debate

Tech advocacy group CALinnovates is telling the FCC that Congress needs to weigh in to clarify the FCC's regulatory authority over network neutrality, and says the public agrees.

“Absent congressional legislation, the regulatory pendulum will endlessly swing—one political party will reinstitute Title II, only for it to be repealed again within the next one or two election cycles," the group said. "Political partisans will celebrate short-lived victories or raise funds based upon momentary defeats while litigators rack up billable hours.”

CALinnovates also noted that congress has so far not met that responsibility, citing decades of inaction that left the decision up to an FCC with dramatically fluctuating approaches depending on which party was in power, "creating a blindfolded game of musical chairs designed to perpetually leave one participant without a seat." In addition to the pendulum and musical chairs analogies, the group has also likened it to an endless ping-pong game of back and forth and a food fight.

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CALinnovates also included the results of its survey, which showed (see graphic) that 74% wanted permanent rules ensuring a level playing field rather than rules that can be changed.

"One analysis concluded that nearly 6 million comments posted in the FCC docket between July 17th and August 4th were likely fake, including an astounding 1.3 million comments from and, all supposedly emanating from Russia, Germany and France," the group said. "Either there are hundreds of thousands of people in a few select countries outside the U.S. who are fearful of watching slow pornography online when they travel to the states or there was a concerted effort to fraudulently stuff the ballot box with counterfeit comments. Genuine or fabricated, the comments certainly did not reflect a representative sample of the country’s views," it added citing the poll, which it commissioned.

CALinnovates says that "bipartisan compromise," not "radically shifting" regs should govern the 'net, though bipartisanship on any issue, much less a hot-button one, is a tough ask in the current divisive political climate. 

Aug. 30 is the deadline for comments on the proposal by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to reverse the Title II common carrier classification of internet access and review the 2015 Open Internet rules.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.