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Challenge the FCC

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Now that the FCC has passed regulations concerning net neutrality, some are not only calling for Congress to challenge the regulations, they are calling for Congress to challenge the FCC itself. Tom Giovanetti of the Institute for Policy Innovation, for example, even says it is “Time for Congress to Gut the FCC.”

Even if you don’t understand the concept of net neutrality you have to be concerned about the process by which the current FCC issued their regulations. We have now discovered that there were two sets of regulations. The FCC commissioners were working to develop a set of regulations on net neutrality that would have been moderate and a compromise between some of the strong positions taken by various interest groups. But while they were working on these regulations, the Wall Street Journal has now reported that there were a series of secret, parallel regulations developed at the White House that became the final regulations.

That leads to a second concern. No public comment was allowed on those regulations for a very good reason. As I have reported in previous commentaries, nobody was allowed to see those regulations. This is not what we would expect from what was supposed to be the most transparent administration in history.

These regulations will affect you and the Internet you use everyday. That is why the FCC should have made the process open and transparent. In fact, these sorts of regulations should be made through the legislative process not by a few bureaucrats appointed by the president.

Tom Giovanetti argues that the FCC could be completely eliminated by distributing FCC responsibilities to other agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Many of these functions already overlap these and other agencies.

Congress may not eliminate the FCC, but at least it should rein it in. Senator John Thune is pushing ahead with an investigation. He says, “The FCC’s direction is bad for the Internet and bad for consumers.” It is time for Congress to challenge the FCC.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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