Controversial Internet regulations have been published in the government’s newspaper, but critics of the Net neutrality framework engineered by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler are moving quickly to kill them even before they take effect later this summer.
Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Georgia, on Monday introduced a Resolution of Disapproval that would cancel the regulations under special procedural rules that would only require the support of a simple Senate majority to pass. Fourteen lawmakers are co-sponsors of the legislation.
“The agency is stretching old definitions to fit its regulatory agenda,” Collins said. “Only businesses with the greatest resources will survive Washington, D.C.’s latest bureaucratic expansion into a growing and dynamic industry, particularly mobile broadband.”
The regulations face opposition on Capitol Hill and in the courts.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to review the FCC’s 400-page Open Internet Order. Judges with the D.C. Circuit Court previously overturned Internet regulations following a successful challenge by Verizon.
“The FCC, in effect, has impermissibly rewritten the Communications Act,” said former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, who is representing NCTA in the appeal. “Congress clearly intended for the Internet to evolve unencumbered by complex, inefficient government regulations.”
Others are lining up in support of the FCC.
Free Press, a nonprofit organization that lobbied for strong Internet protections, is calling on people to tell their representatives in Congress to vote against Collins’ measure.
“Congress is trying to overturn the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules,” the organization warns on the front page of its website.
Collins introduced the resolution the same day the FCC published its Open Internet Order in the Federal Register. The regulations are set to become effective June 12.
The publication of the regulations “starts the clock on potential legal challenges of the agency’s decision, given that its rules will soon take effect,” the Internet Innovation Alliance said. “Instead of relying on the uncertain future of public utility regulation soon to be imposed on the Internet, we encourage Congress to use this window of opportunity to craft legislation that sets forth permanent rules to advance Internet openness, and continued investment and innovation in the nation’s vibrant 21st century digital broadband economy.”
Last month, weeks before the regulations were published, the broadband industry moved to overturn them by filing petitions for review in two federal appellate courts. The FCC said the petitions were premature.
“The season of suits,” declared Mike Wendy, president of MediaFreedom.org, a non-profit organization that contends the Open Internet Order unlawfully infringes on free speech, “now begins in earnest, as well it should.”