Public Interest Groups Across Spectrum Oppose Net Neutrality Regulation, Too

by on October 7, 2011 · 0 comments

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal’s story on the legal challenge to Net Neutrality regulation opens as follows:

Efforts by public interest groups to get a legal challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s new “net neutrality” rules heard somewhere other than the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit belly-flopped Thursday when the D.C. Court won the case in a random lottery.

I’ve responded with the following comment:

The first sentence of this article reinforces the common misconception that “public interest” groups support net neutrality regulations while only corporations oppose them.

In fact, many large corporations have supported these regulations, while a wide array of public interest, non-profit groups oppose the FCC’s net neutrality regulations. Those include a variety of free market groups such as TechFreedom (my own think tank), the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks and Americans for Tax Reform, but also left-leaning civil liberties groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the FCC’s rules a “Trojan Horse” for other regulation because they set a dangerous precedent that would give the FCC broad powers in other areas, such as content regulation or copyright.

If a Democratic FCC can invent the authority to issue Net Neutrality rules, an FCC Chairman appointed by a socially conservative president could implement the agenda of censorship advocates such as the Parents Television Council’s founder Brent Bozell—which might explain why those groups have supported the Net Neutrality regulation.

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell demolished the idea that these Internet regulations would serve the “public interest” in a scathing dissent when the FCC issues these illegal rules. He emphasized that real net neutrality problems could be handled first through mediation processes and, if necessary, through consumer protection and antitrust laws.

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