DeMint Bill Would Create Hurdles for Net Neutrality Regs
BIll would curtail FCC's authority over competition policy
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/20/2010 12:24:52 PM
A source confirms that bill language is being worked on, but is not final.
The Freedom for Consumer Choice [FCC] Act, according one version being floated Tuesday, would prevent the FCC from issuing any rules on unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices unless it had determined first, via a rulemaking, that the marketplace was not sufficient to protect consumers, that the act or practice causes or is likely to cause substantial injury, that consumers can't avoid that consequence themselves, and that the injury is not outweighed by "countervailing benefits to consumers or competition.
There would be a five-year sunset on any regs that did pass that test, unless the FCC could affirmatively re-justify them.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for one, is all for it. "The bill correctly recognizes that without evidence of a market failure and consumer harm, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) current push to regulate the Internet is not justified and would jeopardize the tremendous investment, innovation, consumer choice, and job creation evidenced in today's broadband marketplace."
DeMint was co-sponsor of a legislative attempt last fall to block funding for any new network neutrality rules.
The FCC has proposed network neutrality rules, but its authority to do so was called into question by a federal court's ruling it had not justified its authority for sanctioning of Comcast for blocking BitTorrent peer-to-peer uploads.
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