Open hearings needed before FCC issues damaging rule on internet access

Ending ‘net neutrality’ will allow giant telecoms to control the flow of information, hurt small businesses and consumers and cripple enforcement of fair practices.


NEW GLOUCESTER — The Federal Communications Commission is about to release a new order on net neutrality under the moniker “Restoring Internet Freedom.” In our opinion, this rule – which the FCC is poised to enact in less than two weeks – will ensure that the internet is controlled by a handful of large multinational companies that will be in a position to extort money from small businesses attempting to develop innovative new internet-based products and services.

The draft order will define internet access as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service. The change in definition would transfer the responsibility for regulating competitive practices on the internet from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission. The problem is that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California has ruled that the FTC has no enforcement powers over broadband providers that also offer landline, mobile and other telecommunications services – which is nearly all of them. In other words, no one will have the ability to enforce fair practices on the internet.

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