Blog Post

FCC Committed to Enforcing Net Neutrality

[qi:105] Hey Comcast, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has two words for you: network neutrality.

Actually he has more than two words. In an interview with, Chairman Genachowski said, “One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles.” The statement seems to be a direct answer to Comcast, which has questioned the legality of the FCC’s enforcement of network neutrality.

Comcast has filed an appeal of an FCC decision issued last August that rapped the broadband service provider on the knuckles for blocking P2P files using a special type of network management techniques. Comcast doesn’t believe the FCC has the authority when it comes to enforcing network neutrality. The FCC has until Sept. 21 to respond.

Chairman Genachowski told the Congress Daily that his general counsel, Austin Schlick, was “focusing on what exactly the right strategy is” in this fight with Comcast. He also told the publication that even though the FCC is focused on the National Broadband Stimulus, network neutrality remains a top priority.

4 Responses to “FCC Committed to Enforcing Net Neutrality”

  1. Brett Glass

    The Administrative Procedure Act and the Constitution do not allow the FCC, or any other regulatory body, to enforce “principles.”

    They can only enforce laws or rules. The former, according to the Constitution, must not be vague. And the latter have to be formally codified after due process (a notice of proposed rule making, public comment, hearings, etc.). What’s more, the agency has to have statutory authority to make and enforce the rules. (Federal law states that the Internet must remain “unfettered by State or Federal regulation,” so it appears that in fact the FCC does not have that authority — a point which Comcast is surely going to bring up in court.)

    In short, the FCC legally cannot do anything within the realm of “network neutrality” — a term which, by the way, is so broad and poorly defined that it is semantically null — unless (a) it is legally authorized to do so by statute; and (b) it makes formal rules in a rule making process that allows public comment.

    This is a good thing, because the Internet doesn’t need regulation. Despite the fact that three “network neutrality” bills have been introduced in Congress since 2005 and not a single one has passed, none of the dire predictions made by Free Press (AKA “Save the Internet”), Public Knowledge, the New America Foundation, or any other of Google’s lobbyists have come to pass. Thus, we can see that these organizations’ scare stories are just hype.

  2. Mr. Genachowski can believe whatever he wants. As the FCC found out with CLEC price-setting, the Judicial branch really is independent.

    For a takeaway, perhaps this is why Verizon and AT&T want nothing to do with the string-encumbered broadband stimulus monies. (They’re now trying to define Broadband?!?! Spend first! Thinking later!)