WASHINGTON — At press time, the presidential election was still too close to call, but it was easy to call how its outcome would affect the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules.
If President Obama is re-elected, his administration will continue to fight for those rules in court and, if they are overturned, could fall back on the FCC’s Title II docket, which remains open, to classify Internet access service as a telecommunications service subject to mandatory access rules.
If Republican nominee Mitt Romney gets the big chair, a GOP administration would look to walk the FCC back from those rules, and would do nothing to defend them if they’re thrown out by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, which is currently considering a challenge by wireless firms Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS.
If Republicans capture the Senate, Sen. James DeMint (R-S.C.) could become the next chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee. DeMint has long pushed for massive communications deregulation, including must-carry rules and local market exclusivity protections for TV stations during retrans disputes with cable operators.