Where better to receive the bad news than from the techcentric website TechCrunch, which confirms that the worst fears of freedom-loving Americans were realized a short time ago:
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed new net neutrality regulations today on a vote of 3-2, with the Commission’s two Democratic appointees joining Chairman Tom Wheeler in voting yes. The Commission’s two Republican-appointed members both voted no.
Notably, the FCC’s plan is now known to have undergone a last-minute revision to remove a potential weakness in its formation, pointed out by Google, that might have allowed for some paid prioritization. If you were curious about Google’s take on net neutrality, that fact should settle the question.
Up first from the commission, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in her remarks that the “framers” of America “would be pleased” with the FCC’s plan. The commissioner went on to call today’s vote the FCC’s “third bite at the apple.” Clyburn also disclosed, as was previously reported, that she had helped shape part of the order, and also listed a number of changes she would have preferred to see in the order itself. The commissioner wrapped by arguing that individuals who are worried about rate regulation are worrying unnecessarily.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel argued that the United States’ “Internet economy is the envy of the world. We invented it. The app economy began right here on our shores.” She went on to call the Internet “our printing press” and “our town square.”
Commissioner Ajit Pai said that it was “sad to witness” the FCC replacing Internet freedom with “government control.” Pai continued, saying that the FCC only voted on the rules that it did due to intrusion into the agency’s processes by President Barack Obama…. “The plan is not a solution to a problem,” he said, going on to call the plan itself “the problem.”
Commissioner Michael O’Reilly criticized the proposal to reverse Title II: “I see no need for net neutrality rules. I am far more troubled the commission is charting for Title II.” He continued, calling the move a “monumental and unlawful power grab.”
Chairman Tom Wheeler, whose vote broke the tie, had the last word:
No one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the Internet. The Internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules. This plan is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.
Needless to say, this intrusion by the government into the system of free enterprise, like others by the Obama administration, will not go unchallenged.