|Seems Like A Reasonable Idea|
The FCC Approach Guarantees It. Thune's Approach? Not So Sure.
(photo from act.watchdog.net)
What the FCC has in mind is impossible to know at this point. That kind of bugs me, but apparently it's standard procedure for the Commission to implement a plan before telling the public about its details. As the Commission's vote on this is scheduled to take place later this week, we'll soon know its details. The conventional thinking seems to be that the FCC will vote for the plan, given that the Commission has a Democratic majority and that the plan has President Obama's backing.
Because Thune's 11-point proposal, linked above, seems to cover all the territory needed to assure net neutrality, you wonder what all the brouhaha is about. Looks to me like the point of contention is in how the respective standards are to be applied. The FCC wants its plan to be a new section of the Communications Act of 1934, which would guarantee net neutrality, per FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Thune's proposals would be put into place independently of the Communications Act, probably requiring enforcement mechanisms that may or may not be as stringent and easily applied as those proposed by the FCC. The complexity of all this can perhaps be simplified if you know that the large service providers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile among them)
I Think The FCC Will Know How To Deal With This
(photo from www.dailytech.com)
My take? Go with the surest method of making net neutrality the law of the land. That means the FCC's approach, which seems clear and unequivocal, is the best way to do this. I just don't want an internet where some content comes to me at higher speed than other content. Thune's argument that the FCC's proposal will stifle innovation doesn't stand the test of history, as a free and wide-open internet with equal access to everyone has probably been the most innovative medium of our lifetimes. I see from Thune's list a set of bullet points that sound good, but don't see him attaching a mechanism that ensures compliance. Cumbersome, intrusive and overreaching as the FCC plan may well turn out to be, it ensures net neutrality. Thune's counter-proposal comes with no such guarantee.
The FCC, which over the decades has regulated common communications in a reasonably efficient and satisfactory manner, makes its decision at the end of this week (2/26). The standards it seeks to apply in pursuit of net neutrality are likely to work out just fine.