FCC Grants Itself the Power to Regulate the InternetDecember 21, 2010 0 Comments
As reported earlier this month, the FCC decided to try and fix what's not broken, by following through on its intention to claim jurisdiction over the Internet. Today, they've issued a broad set of rules dictating what an internet provider can and cannot do, even though Congress has previously declined to grant them such power, and the federal Courts have previously denied them, as well.
In essence, the FCC wants to micro-manage a conflict between Comcast and BitTorrent that was settled 2 years ago already by natural market forces. Currently, anti-trust powers of the federal government belong to the Department of Justice and can only be exercised in the presence of a bonafide monopoly. Basically, anyone not happy with Comcast's service can still find alternatives.
Since the decision split was completely partisan, expect this battle to continue on in Congress next year where Republicans in the House will threaten to cut off FCC funding, as well as in the Courts which will probably rule against the FCC again in the absence of a specific grant of Congressional authority.
Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of such "activism" in government is the general slowdown of economic growth. Businesses want to be able to project their marketing climate at least 5 years in the future. And a continuing battle in 2011 over whether internet providers can ration the internet as granted by the FCC is sure to add incredible uncertainty to any business that relies upon online sales.