President Obama has come out strongly in support of reclassification of Internet access service under Title II common carrier regulations and, after initially proposing not to go that route, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appears ready to follow the President's lead (though Wheeler has maintained from the outset that Title II is on the table), but BattlefortheNet.com is not taking any chances.
In an effort to "light up the phones" on Capitol Hill, the group said it has launched 535 separate websites, one for each member of the House and Senate, that will identify where they stand on open Internet protections and urge surfers to phone a congressional friend or foe.
The effort was launched Jan. 14, which marks a year since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit threw out the FCC's previous network neutrality rules for insufficient legal justification. Ironically, those rules smacked too much of common carrier regs for the court given its "ban" on unreasonable discrimination.
Several legislators, so far Republicans only, are talking about passing a bill that would protect against blocking and discriminating and paid prioritization, but without reclassifying under Title II and without necessarily applying the regs to wireless broadband.
BattlefortheNet (comprised of Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund) does not want those legislators to preempt that Title II effort.
"The FCC appears ready to restore for broadband the basic consumer protections Congress originally enacted for all two-way communications services," the group said. "[M]embers of Congress should not interfere with or delay the process unless they are willing to support the FCC’s efforts to preserve these fundamental protections."
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.
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