The two groups, Free Press and Public Knowledge have been attempting to coerce the public into believing that the Federal Communications Commission does indeed have the power, authority, and approval to regulate the Internet under current rulemaking. While Free Press and Public Knowledge are ignoring Congressional discouragement and championing the FCC’s regulatory authority, the exact opposite is true. No such statute allows the FCC to justify regulating the Internet.
In a recent op-ed by Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) in Roll Call, Culberson rebuts the socialists at Free Press and Public Knowledge. Culberson has also announced he will introduce an amendment to prohibit any taxpayer dollars going towards regulating the internet. He understands the history of the Internet being an information service and recognizes that the FCC holds no regulatory powers. He even confronts FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on this issue who proceeds to flat out ignore the question. From his op-ed:
“Last month, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, argued before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services that the FCC does, in fact, have this authority. I asked him to show me the statute that gave the FCC the authority, but he dodged the question and remarked that FCC lawyers believe they can reclassify broadband in such a way that grants the FCC the authority to regulate the Internet.
Relevant to this discussion are two classifications of communications and the regulatory rules that they are subject to under the Communications Act of 1934, as rewritten in 1996. Broadband Internet has long been classified as an “information service,” which is subject only to the ancillary authority defined in Title I of the law. This classification was upheld in 2005 by the Supreme Court in the Brand X case. The second category is “telecommunications” service, which is subject to mandatory regulation under Title II.
Earlier this year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in the case of Comcast Corp. v. Federal Communications Commission that the FCC has neither express nor ancillary authority to regulate the Internet. In fact, the opinion of the court even states that ‘[i]n this case, the Commission does not claim that Congress has given it express authority to regulate Comcast’s Internet service.”’
Read the entire Roll Call op-ed here.