FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell penned an outstanding piece in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription) on the commission’s vote tomorrow on neutrality regulation. The final paragraph is worth a Pulitzer:
On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.
Strangely, McDowell’s dire warning is similar to that of Senate Majority Comedian Al Franken, who warned today in the Huffington Post that if the proposed rules are adopted, “the Internet as we know it would cease to exist.” Of course, his reasoning is a bit different, as he calls for more, rather than less regulation.
Despite complaints from Franken and others on the Left that the FCC proposal doesn’t interfere enough with the Internet, the betting at the moment is that the FCC will adopt neutrality rules of some type or another tomorrow. The the real battle begins, on two fronts. In Congress, GOP members are anxious to use their new House majority (as well as their increased Senate heft) to take a whack at regulation generally, and neutrality regulation specifically. Secondly, in the courts, which decimated the FCC’s prior attempt to impose neutrality rules, and will no doubt will look skeptically at these new ones.
Should be an interesting 2011. (BTW, my own piece on the issue, released on Friday, can be found here.)