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Does Added Delay Spell the End for Net Neutrality Regs?

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Why All the Hype Over Net Neutrality?

Learn what net neutrality is all about and why it's so important.

The last we heard on net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission had requested additional public comment on whether net neutrality rules should apply to wireless services and whether they should apply to specialized services that are transmitted via wired broadband connections. Undoubtedly cable, phone and wireless providers are more than satisfied with this development. They are doing everything they can to avoid more regulation, including collaborating on their own proposals.

 

But as Washington Post writer Cecilia Kang ponted out, the delay will table the net neutrality discussion at least until after the elections in November, at which point it could be much harder for the FCC to push regulations through. She quotes Concept Capital analyst Paul Gallant this way:

Likely Republican gains in the November elections-perhaps including control of the House-will make the political environment somewhat less hospitable for the FCC to reclassify broadband after November.

Thus, consumer advocates are frustrated, to say the least. Free Press research director S. Derek Turner had this to say in an opinion column published Thursday in the Detroit Free Press:

The Federal Communications Commission opened a proceeding last fall to establish clear rules to protect net neutrality and ensure that Internet service providers can't interfere with traffic over their networks, but the agency has not taken any decisive action yet... While the FCC dithers, the phone and cable companies -- along with Google -- are trying to write their own rules, full of loopholes, that would... ultimately leave the FCC a toothless watchdog, unable to safeguard Internet users.

As is typical when it comes to government action, it's a game of "hurry up and wait."

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