Arik Hesseldahl

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FCC Vote: Reactions Are Pouring In

It’s now official. At 1:05 pm Eastern Time today the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to enact a controversial set of proposed rules on network neutrality, effectively getting the government into the business of regulating the Internet in ways it hasn’t done before. Congressional Republicans are already planning on holding hearings next year.

The reactions are all over the map, and no one is exactly happy. I’ve collected a few of the reaction statements below.

President Obama:

“This decision is an important component of our overall strategy to advance American innovation, economic growth, and job creation. As a candidate for President, I pledged to preserve the freedom and openness that have allowed the Internet to become a transformative and powerful platform for speech and expression. That’s a pledge I’ll continue to keep as President. As technology and the market continue to evolve at a rapid pace, my Administration will remain vigilant and see to it that innovation is allowed to flourish, that consumers are protected from abuse, and that the democratic spirit of the Internet remains intact.”

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, incoming Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

“The FCC’s hostile actions toward innovation, investment and job creation cannot be allowed to stand. We must use every resource available, including the Congressional Review Act, to strike down the FCC’s brazen effort to regulate the Internet. … Despite FCC claims that these are just rules of the road that everyone agrees with, anyone can recognize that what the Commission claims to be statements of broad industry support are really cries of ‘uncle’ resulting from threats of even more onerous regulation.”


Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, incoming Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

“More troubling than the substance of the network neutrality rules are the legal theories underpinning them. If left unchallenged, this power grab will allow the Commission to regulate any interstate wired or wireless communication on barely more than a whim. For all these reasons, we plan to look at all legislative options for reversing the decision. We also plan to hold a series of hearings early next year on the substance, process and claims of authority underlying this proceeding.”

Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts

“The FCC’s Democratic Commissioners should be applauded for reaching a consensus on rules that will protect network neutrality on the Internet. As Commissioner Copps, a lifelong champion of open communications and democratic discourse, said in his statement today, vigilant and vigorous implementation of the rule is critical to its success.”

Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen

“DISH Network applauds Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps and Clyburn for adopting critically important net neutrality rules. The Commission’s Order is a solid framework for protecting the open Internet. The new rules give companies, including DISH Network, the framework to invest capital and manpower in Internet-related technologies without fear that our investment will be undermined by carriers’ discriminatory practices. While we wish the Commission would have gone further to expressly prohibit discrimination on wireless platforms, we are pleased that there will be ongoing Commission oversight and enforcement authority.”

Kyle McSlarrow, President and CEO, National Cable and Telecommunications Association

“Our consistent view has been that the current ‘openness’ of the broadband marketplace can be preserved while simultaneously fostering the innovation and massive private investment needed to ensure the future growth and vitality of the Internet. While we agree entirely with Commissioners McDowell and Baker that new regulation is not necessary to accomplish that goal, it has been clear for some time that there were three votes at the Commission for rules that would go much farther than those adopted today. Thus, the question before us has been whether rules could be drafted in a manner that avoids a raft of unintended consequences and that preserves broadband providers’ ability to innovate and invest in a marketplace that justly represents a great American success story.”

J. Scott Holladay, Economics Fellow, Institute for Policy Integrity

“Today, the FCC voted on a batch of tepid new rules. Some net neutrality protection will be provided, but the exclusion for wireless will create barriers to new start-up content providers and chill content innovation over wireless Internet.”

“The new but not-yet-properly-defined ‘managed service’ exemption may amount to the first step down a slippery slope of non-neutral Internet service. The exemption should be carefully tailored to address only a small number of special categories of applications that cannot operate under the existing open framework.”

“The FCC rests these decisions on shaky legal ground. Rather than invoke its more robust regulating powers, FCC bases the new rule on legal authority that was called into serious doubt by court decision earlier this year making the long term prospects for the rule quite poor.”

The Writers Guild of America, East

“A compromise means the parties to a dispute reach agreement. Here, no one has agreed to anything. These tepid rules will be challenged in court and in Congress, and they fail in the most fundamental ways – permitting paid prioritization and all manner of discrimination in wireless. Our members write most of what people watch on television and in the movie theaters and increasingly, online. Today’s FCC vote will diminish our members’ ability to create and distribute innovative content and audiences’ ability to watch the content of their choice.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work