Net Neutrality: Congress Need Legislate, the FCC Not Regulate, the Internet



As former 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher so informatively points out in a recent column that he wrote for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, Virginia is at the core of the net neutrality debate;

“Virginia and Virginian’s have a special role in the history of the Internet and a special concern for its flourishing. You can have a “Virginia Internet C@pital” license plate on your car; last year, the Washington Post suggested that Ashburn, VA was “the center of the Internet”, with 70% of the world’s Internet data passing through it and 5,000,000 square feet of data centers in Loudoun County alone. Silicon Valley may be more famous, but without Virginia, the backbone of the Internet would simply not exist.”

And as is the norm, Congress is a day late and a trillion short getting down to business, as its just now beginning to seriously debate several bills from both political parties in both Chambers regarding what to do with the FCC’s already month-old ruling on net neutrality.

The GOP would like to limit, not abolish, the authority of the FCC to oversee the internet after its ruling classifying the net as a more highly regulated utility-like service under “Title II” of the Communications Act.

Dems on the SAME hand, are also open to language that too would limit the FCC’s powers in fear that the FCC’s new regs could be overturned by either the federal courts or a future GOP-led FCC.

A reversal of the Title II designation, with the FCC still maintaining some level of oversight over the internet, seems like a possible bi-partisan solution. So what’s the hold up?

The answer to that question is Congress itself.  With a backlog of major issues that seem to come and go with a whole lot of debate and very little legislative action, will Congress even act at all on net neutrality?