After The Open Internet Order, Reclassification!

After The Open Internet Order, Reclassification!

By David Isenberg

Jan 14 2014

We’ve known all along that the Clear Skies Act, the Healthy Forests Initiative and the Open Internet Order would lead to more air pollution, more pillage of national forests and a pwned, corporatized, monetized Internet. After all, the FCC’s Open Internet Order was born of a compromise between Google and Verizon; elephants danced and the grass roots got trampled.

In 2009 and 2010 — as FCC Chairman Genachowski deked and ducked and tried not to offend anybody powerful — it was clear to all, especially to the biggest telcos and cablecos, that if the FCC were to classify Internet access as a Title 2 telecommunications service, this would (a) solve the big problems that the phrase “Network Neutrality” was invented to describe, would (b) provide strong legal grounds against challenges, and would (c) be consistent with 500 years of common law and a deep corpus of case law. Nope, we could not have that. It was better to have a weak compromise, full of exceptions, that was bound to be overturned in court. Here’s my own bitter prognostication from December 2010.

Now that the DC Appeals Court has struck down the FCC’s 2010 order [court decision here], now is the time to demand that the FCC do what it should have done in the first place. It should classify Internet access as a Title 2 Telecommunications Service. The precedents for doing this are strong.The bigcos will be unanimous in their hatred for it; we should welcome their hatred.

The Internet should be for everybody. It should not be narrowly monetized, productized and marketed to benefit the already-rich and the already-powerful. Reclassification of Internet access to be a Title 2 Telecommunications Service could do this.

Chairman Wheeler. Special Counsel for External Affairs Sohn. Are you listening?

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