Americans For Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, the Center for Individual Liberty and other big government critics making up the Internet Freedom Coalition (IFC) have put the FCC's Title II reclassification, alongside health care and financial services reform, as a new regulatory regime to take aim at.
"Without cause or provocation, the FCC is on a reckless pursuit to regulate the Internet," IFC said announcing its filing at the FCC (Title II comments are due today, Aug. 12). They called the FCC's proposal to reclassify Internet access service under some Title II common carrier regulations as a "potentially disastrous" move.
The group argued that the commission should not rush in with "radical, unilateral action" where the Congress has so far chosen not to tread. "Those who argue that the Commission must rush to regulate merely because Congressional policymaking will take more time ignore both the proper role of the legislative branch of government and the proper role of deliberation in a free, democratic society. The Commission must consider the fact that the Congress may have refrained from regulating the Internet because they see no compelling reason to do so," IFC wrote in its filing.
IFC said that if the FCC does proceed with Title II, the courts will likely hold the decision arbitrary and capricious.
Taking a page from an op ed piece in The Wall Street Journal by Republican commissioner Robert McDowell last month, the group warned that the title II "misclassification" could prompt the International Telecommunications Union to assert authority over parts of the Internet. And unlike the UN, McDowell pointed out in his piece, the U.S. does not have veto power over the ITU.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has gotten pushback from a majority of House members on his so called "third way" proposal for Title II classification and has been trying to get stakeholders on both sides to find common ground on a bill that would clarify its broadband regulatory authority so that it can expand and codify its network openness principles and implement the national broadband plan without fear of lawsuits.
By day's end, many more comments are expected to flood the already crowded docket--more than 41,000 comments, most (38,729 at press time) having comein the past 30 days, as Free Press and other groups supporting strong network neutrality rules pushed the public to weigh in.