How Net Neutrality Can Still Win!
"Ajit Pai is going to lose", wrote Evan Greer over at Fight for the Future just before the FCC voted to gut net neutrality...
"The organizations behind BattleForTheNet.com and Team Internet (Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund) are announcing a massive Internet-wide campaign to demand that our elected officials in Congress use a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC's illegitimate rulemaking.
Now, the Congressional Review Act was put into place by Congress - by Republicans in Congress specifically - to make it possible for Congress to overturn excessive regulations as it were from executive branch agencies.
The EPA is given a broad mandate, for example, "you can deal with pollution". So the EPA decides, "well we're gonna decide that carbon dioxide is part of pollution." This hadn't been part of the law, but the EPA gets to make the rules because that's what the law says - the EPA makes the rules. So the EPA makes that rule.
At that point Congress could, under the congressional oversight law - the Congressional Review Act, the CRA- Congress could come in and say, "now, we didn't really mean carbon dioxide, we were just talking about soot" and they can actually change the rules that have been put into place by regulatory agencies.
So one of those regulatory agencies is the FCC and the FCC is fixing, in fact just voted, to gut net neutrality protections. Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, is the head of the FCC. There's three men who are Republicans on the FCC and two women who are Democrats. The two women who are Democrats are saying we need a free and open Internet, the three men who are Republicans are saying we need to turn the internet over to a half a dozen giant corporations so that they can make huge profits that they will recycle back to the Republican Party.
I got an email via the Sanders Institute from Robert Reich and Robert Reich says, if and when this happens it would:
"1. Drive up prices for internet service. Broadband providers could charge customers higher rates to access certain sites, or raise rates for internet companies to reach consumers faster speeds. Either way, these prices hikes would be passed along to you and me.
"2. Give corporate executives free reign to slow down and censor news or websites that don't match their political agenda, or give preference to their own content - for any reason at all."
This would be executives in the internet service business, and...
"3. Stifle innovation. Cable companies could severely hurt their competitors by blocking certain apps or online services. Small businesses who can't afford to pay higher rates could be squeezed out altogether."
But if Congress passes a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act they can force the FCC, or basically override the FCC's decision on net neutrality. This would be a first step.
Then the second step would be to actually pass a law saying that the internet in the United States is considered a public utility and is regulated under title II of the Communications Act of 1934 which is what Tom Wheeler put into place back in 2015 and is basically how the internet had been operating right up until 2015.
But now you've got these big multi-billion dollar corporations that are coming in and saying,"no, we want our piece of this."
It's pretty incredible.