DeMint Bill Would Create Hurdles for Net Neutrality Regs

BIll would curtail FCC's authority over competition policy
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Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is working on
a bill that would make it much more difficult for the FCC to expand and
codify its
network neutrality guidelines, and
would rein in the FCC's authority over competition policy in the process
by establishing a
"competition analysis-based
regulatory framework."

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

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
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.