Capital Comment on Court’s Net Neutrality Move


Net-NeutralityWhen something important happens in Washington DC, the gears of the public relations machinery crank into operation and we quickly find out the opinions of various dignitaries. Such was the case with the District of Columbia Circuit Court’s ruling on net neutrality.

The Court decided to let the FCC’s exercise of Title II authority over the internet go into effect.

Petitioners had been seeking a stay of the rules pending the outcome of lawsuits challenging the new rules.

Here is what people were saying in Washington:

* FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: “This is a huge victory for Internet consumers and innovators! Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the Internet fast, fair and open. Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past. The rules also give broadband providers the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks.”

* FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: “I am pleased that the FCC’s Open Internet Order and strong rules to ensure there are no slow lanes on the Internet become effective tomorrow. A free and open Internet is vital to our democracy and competitive market. ?I am proud to stand up for the consumer to protect free speech and a free market.”

* FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: “The Internet is the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented and our Internet economy is the envy of the world. Sustaining this platform, which keeps us innovative, fierce, and creative, should not be a choice – it should be an obligation. That’s why I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit declined to stay our Open Internet rules, which will take effect tomorrow.”

* FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: “Because President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is already harming broadband investment and deployment, I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit will be hearing the appeal of President Obama’s plan on an expedited basis. Although I am disappointed that the court did not stay the rules pending its review, this development was not unexpected. The bar for granting any stay is quite high, and I am pleased that the court did not suggest that the rules are in fact legally valid. I welcome the court’s coming examination of the FCC’s 313-page order, during which it will have an opportunity to address the order’s serious procedural and substantive flaws.”

* FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly: “I am disappointed by the court’s decision to deny a stay of the Net Neutrality Order. The fight against the Commission’s rules, however, has only just begun, because unless eradicated they will ultimately harm the foundations of the Internet, and limit its possibilities. In the meantime, I will be vigilant in resisting any attempts by the agency to act as a referee enforcing rules known to none of the players and made up along the way.”

* Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Senate Commerce Committee: “This decision underscores the need for Congress to find a bipartisan legislative solution to protect, preserve, and promote the free and open Internet. I will continue my work with Ranking Member Nelson to achieve that goal. Edge companies, broadband providers, and Internet users alike all need clear rules of the digital road so they can continue to innovate, invest, and use the Internet with confidence. Only Congress, on a bipartisan basis, can provide that legal certainty.”

* Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ranking Member, Senate Commerce Committee: “The rules are now poised to go into effect. While the court conducts its review, I remain committed to finding true bipartisan consensus to take the important protections the FCC put into place and provide the certainty that only legislation can provide. That legislation, though, must fully protect consumers, preserve the FCC’s role, and leave the agency with flexible, forward-looking authority.”

* Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee “On June 12th millions of Americans will receive what they’ve long asked for: effective, enforceable net neutrality protections to keep the Internet free and open,” Eshoo said. “The Court’s decision today is a critical validation that the new rules to protect an open Internet are grounded in strong legal footing and can endure future challenges by broadband providers. Millions of consumers, entrepreneurs, innovators and others stand by this, and today the Court agreed with them.”

* Doug Brake, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation: “The DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision not to stay the FCC’s Open Internet Order is disappointing, but not surprising. The bar to stay an administrative order is quite high; it requires a showing of irreparable harm and a likelihood of success on the merits. Today’s decision is not a good signal for whether the appeal will be won or lost, only that it isn’t a slam dunk. Uncertainty continues to reign. Congress would do well to step in with an independent grant of authority to provide the FCC the tools it needs to ensure an open Internet without resorting to the outmoded regulations of Title II.”