February 26, 2015

What’s next on the road to Net Neutrality?

From: The Hill | Blogs

By Daniel Lyons

On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission will vote 3-2 to regulate broadband Internet providers as common carriers. The decision will be the culmination of nearly a decade of work by net neutrality activists seeking to subject Internet providers to rules written eighty years ago to tame the Bell telephone monopoly. It will also effectively thwart the proposed Thune-Upton bill in Congress that would accomplish net neutrality without radically altering the law governing cyberspace.


Once approved, the order faces two immediate bureaucratic hurdles. First, it must wait at least sixty days (and likely longer) for approval from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an obscure-but-powerful agency located within the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. OIRA assesses the paperwork burden that the new rules will impose on the public. Once approved by OIRA, the FCC will publish the rule in the Federal Register, which triggers another sixty-day waiting period during which Congress may attempt to nullify the rule by passing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. Like a high-stakes game of legislative chess, the House and Senate may move to block the FCC, only to find themselves blocked in turn by a presidential veto that they likely lack the votes to override.

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