April 26 2011
Net Neutrality Explained By Eighth Graders
Three eighth graders from Knoxville, TN won First Prize in C-Span's Student Cam Contest this year. Melissa Yu, Katy Becker, and Sara Atkins received the price for their very informative video on the net neutrality debate. In "Net Neutrality: The Federal Government's Role in Our Online Community," the students do a prime job explaining the terms of the debate and demonstrate a high level of understanding of the political and economic realities that matter. Congratulations!
As to where the current debate stands at the moment, the House of Representatives successfully voted to overturn the rules in April. However, the bill faces strong opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama already announced that he would veto the measure.
The courts present a more promising institution to get rid of the harmful regulations which would stifle investment growth in broadband infrastructure, and provide much stronger incentives for wasteful political rentseeking in the industry. The FCC knows this and is doing whatever it can to avoid having the case heard in the DC Circuit court which is poised to overturn the rules based on recent precedent. As Seton Motley explains:
The biggest impediment to reversing the FCC remains - the FCC. And that's intentional. As we have previously noted, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has now waited more than three months - and counting - to file his Net Neutrality order with the federal registry. So as to better hinder the lawsuits and legislation seeking to undo it.
The longer the Chairman drags his feet on this Oh-So-Vitally-and-Imminently-Important Net Neutrality order, the less likely it becomes that the D.C. Circuit will be able to hear the case(s).
So by stalling, the Chairman is callously venue shopping - and ducking a court in which he knows he will most likely lose.
Thus far the FCC's avoidance strategy has proved successful. The court recently dismissed the two lawsuits filed against the net neutrality rules due to the technicality that they hadn't yet been published in the Federal Register.