Despite the Federal Communications Commission’s historic vote Thursday in favor of net neutrality, the fate of the Internet is far from settled. The FCC’s action triggered jubilation among open Internet enthusiasts, but the powerful telecom industry is poised for a legal challenge to the new rules. And Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would supersede the FCC’s approach.
In a 3-2 vote along party lines, the FCC acted to implement net neutrality rules designed to ensure that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all legal content equally, eliciting howls of protest from the ISPs.
Responding to the outcome with mockery and defiance, Verizon dismissed the new guidelines, which are based on a 1934 law, as a set of rules “written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph.” And in a clever PR gambit that was shared widely on social media, the company issued statements opposing the FCC action written with a typewriter in Morse code.
Remember that the FCC is a creature of Congress and Congress could abolish it tomorrow should it wish to. Of course, it won’t. Because what is more permanent than the legacy of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration? For Democrats, the New Deal is far more important than the Mosaic Law.
AT&T raised the prospect of court challenges that would block the FCC from enforcing the rules. “We once again face the uncertainty of litigation, and the very real potential of having to start over — again — in the future,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president external and legislative affairs, in a statement.The FCC’s previous net neutrality rules were thrown out by a federal court last year.
That won’t stop these devils from trying until they get what they want, however.