When Julius Genachowski’s FCC board voted to regulate the internet, it did so without regard for a federal court’s ruling that the FCC didn’t have the authority to regulate the internet. Here’s what the AP is reporting on the FCC’s attempted powergrab:

A federal court threw the future of Internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt Tuesday with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose such “network neutrality” obligations on broadband providers.

The unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel marks a serious setback for the FCC, which is trying to adopt official net neutrality regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat, argues such rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from using their control over Internet access to favor some kinds of online content and services over others.

The D.C. Circuit isn’t just another appellate court. It’s the second highest court in the land behind SCOTUS. Having the D.C. Circuit rule against him previously obviously didn’t mean a thing to Mr. Genachowski. He pushed ahead with today’s vote anyway as if he hadn’t been chastised by the D.C. Circuit previously.

That’s the epitome of arrogance, which should earn Mr. Genachowski a stiff tonguelashing from the D.C. Circuit. I’m certain that they won’t appreciate Mr. Genachowski’s ignoring their unanimous ruling this past April telling him the FCC’s authority didn’t extend as far as he’d hoped it would.

The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural communities.

In a statement, the FCC said it remains “firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans” and “will rest these policies…on a solid legal foundation.”

This isn’t about free internet. It’s about whether the government regulates the internet or whether the private sector, through vigorous competition, regulates the internet. People don’t trust the government, especially this administration, to properly regulate the internet.

It isn’t that they trust the private sector, it’s that they trust them more than they trust this administration.


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