Baltimore, MD 21201
- Randolph May, Free State Foundation
- Professor James Grimmelmann, Maryland Law
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke to Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Chairman Bryan Tramont about one of the hottest topics before the Commission today – Open Internet, otherwise known as Net Neutrality. The internet has become a vital platform for innovation and growth throughout the nation, and has flourished with little or no federal or state regulation. Yet the FCC is currently considering new “rules of the road” for the internet that could substantially alter the future of the web and have a profound impact on our economy. The main questions at hand are whether the FCC should regulate internet service providers’ network management practices, and if so, what those rules should be. Some have suggested that the FCC should classify broadband service as a telecommunications service and subject internet service providers to public utility regulation, otherwise known as Title II. Others believe the Commission should pursue other regulatory avenues, such as using the FCC’s existing authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act.
What is net neutrality exactly? Is there a legitimate need for a regulated internet, or is this is a solution in search of a problem? Does the Commission have legal authority to regulate the internet, or is Congressional authorization a prerequisite? What impact would regulation have on innovation and investment in broadband? Commissioner Pai explored these and other issues in this important teleforum.
In today’s rapidly evolving telecommunications landscape, the development of new technologies and distribution platforms are driving innovation and growth at a breakneck speed across the Internet ecosystem. Broadband connectivity is increasingly important to our civil discourse, our economy, and our future. What is the proper role of government in facilitating robust investment and competition in this critical sector? When technology companies constantly have to reinvent themselves and adapt to survive – what role should government play? Our panel of experts will discuss the current regulatory environment and how government policies – particularly regarding transactions and the Open Internet proceeding – could affect the competitive marketplace.
The Federalist Society's Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group presented this panel on "Competition Policy in the Telecommunications Space" on Thursday, November 13, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.
Prof. Orin Kerr previews the upcoming Supreme Court case which concerns when it is a federal crime to make threatening statements, including messages or postings on social networking web sites such as Facebook.
After suffering two judicial setbacks already, most recently in the D.C. Circuit’s Verizon v. FCC decision this past January, the Federal Communications Commission is once again proposing to adopt new net neutrality regulations. The proposed regulations would bar internet service providers from blocking access to any lawful website or from engaging in commercially unreasonable practices. A key aspect of the FCC’s proposal drawing considerable attention concerns whether the FCC should bar so-called paid prioritization of internet traffic.
In this Teleforum, three experts with divergent views addressed whether there is any need for the FCC to adopt any new neutrality regulations and, if so, whether the agency possesses the legal authority to do so. Two principal legal theories that may support FCC action were discussed – using the FCC’s existing authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act or classifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Act. The panelists also discussed the most important question of all: whether and how net neutrality regulation might affect consumer welfare.