Despite Internal Opposition, FCC Votes 3-2 in Favor of Taking Control of the Internet

By B.N. Frank

The FCC voted today on a plan that gives the Federal government full control over the Internet. The plan passed by a 3-2 margin. A press release posted immediately after the meeting stated, in part, “Under the new rules, the Commission can investigate possible instances of discrimination of broadband access, work with companies to solve problems, facilitate mediation, and, when necessary, penalize companies for violating the rules. The FCC will review consumer complaints of digital discrimination of access through an improved consumer complaint portal and staff will meet monthly to assess trends in complaint patterns. Finally, the Commission adopted model policies and best practices that will support states, local and Tribal governments in their efforts to combat digital discrimination.”

The decision means that the Biden Administration is well on its way to implementing the plan that FCC commissioner Brendan Carr said “…reads like a planning document drawn up in the faculty lounge of a university’s Soviet Studies Department.” Commissioner Carr sent out his letter of dissent last week to warn the public about this “unlawful power grab” that “chooses central planning over free market capitalism.”

The plan is marketed as though it will prevent digital discrimination and a way to ensure equal access to broadband internet in the United States. While equal access is a component of liberty and freedom, this plan gives sweeping access and regulatory control over all aspects of the Internet business. According to the plan document, the FCC would have the power to regulate the following aspects as it relates to each Internet Service Provider:

“Network infrastructure deployment, network reliability, network upgrades, network maintenance, customer-premises equipment, and installation, speeds, capacities, latency, data caps, throttling, pricing, promotional rates, imposition of late fees, opportunity for equipment rental, installation time, contract renewal terms, service termination terms, and use of customer credit and account history, mandatory arbitration clauses, pricing, deposits, discounts, customer service, language options, credit checks, marketing or advertising, contract renewal, upgrades, account termination, transfers to another covered entity, and service suspension.”

The plan goes on to state that all these aspects need to be within the realm of Federal regulation because they could all affect a consumer’s ability to access broadband. The plan further states, “Consequently, we agree with Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law that adopting a flexible approach is necessary ‘to capture the long tail of intangible variables that are difficult to list exhaustively and are subject to change.’ Second, our definition provides us with the advantage of flexibility, which will “future-proof” our rules as technologies, policies, and practices change over time. For these reasons, we reject the argument that by including certain quality of service metrics in 60506(a)(2), Congress foreclosed consideration of other measurable elements of service quality in evaluating whether equal access has been achieved.”

Carr’s letter states, “President Biden’s plan sweeps entire industries within the FCC’s jurisdiction for the first time in the agency’s 90-year history. It would be one thing if the FCC cabined its intrusive new regime to ISPs or even businesses within the communications sector. It does not. The draft FCC order says that “we are not explicitly tasked with regulating entities outside the communications industry, but it then goes on to say that the FCC will do so in this case nonetheless.”

Carr further discusses the other industries the FCC could regulate under this plan. This plan would open the door to regulating landlords, construction crews, marketing agencies, banks, and even the government. Regarding Internet access, all of these industries can and would be regulated by the FCC.

Carr’s letter states all businesses in these industries can be “regulated by the FCC and liable for any act or omission that the agency determines has an impermissible impact on the consumer’s access to broadband. Congress never authorized the FCC to regulate these industries or entities.”

Governments throughout history have been known to abuse power, which was the basis of the three branches of government enshrined in the Constitution. These branches provide checks and balances. It is well-known how slow the court systems can work to check executive power. The Biden administration’s FCC is asking to have access to regulate all aspects of business for private ISPs in addition to landlords, banks, construction crews, and marketing agencies. The authors of this plan tried to leave as much leeway for any potential ‘need’ to regulate any industry now or in the future. As technology advances, they want to be sure they have regulatory control to ensure private companies are not discriminating against any group of people by not providing equal access to services.

Carr’s letter stated, “Even in the absence of any evidence of intentional discrimination, the Biden plan states the FCC can impose potentially unbounded liability if the agency finds that some act or even failure to act happened to result in a disparate impact based on the FCC’s own judgment. Reading this theory of liability into the law conflicts with the Supreme Court’s civil rights precedent. The FCC should not adopt it.”

Biden’s Administration is asking for complete regulatory power to ensure no discrimination, even though there have been no concerns or proof that discriminatory practices are taking place. The FCC would have the sole power to determine whether an act or lack of action is discriminatory. Without a lengthy judicial process, this action and power grab could not be checked.


3 Replies to “Despite Internal Opposition, FCC Votes 3-2 in Favor of Taking Control of the Internet”

  1. I'm From The Stars

    People will just return to connectivity outside of the Internet. And besides, the FCC only has jurisdiction within the USA. Nowhere else.

  2. Picture not perfect

    They all ready own it! There has NEVER been privacy through the Internet! We are not free, we have NEVER been free. They can pull up a record on any of us any time they want: SMS, emails, phone calls, chats, social media. It was NEVER developed for our benefit. All that is happening is they are finally revealling its true purpose, that’s all that has changed. That”s all that has changed with anything, is that they are no longer hiding what they do.

    It’s as though they are goading us, saying: Here is what we will do to you, what are you going to do about it? Humans reply: Post stuff on the INTERNET and tell you we don’t like it through protests, votes and letters. (All things that have been proven for years to not work). So, they push harder and ask the same question. People respond in exactly the same way. Around and around in circles. Except each time they push harder and harder we lose more and more.

    They will continue doing this until people are left with nothing. Because it is only when people have lost everything that they will stand up. Hence the saying, “fear the man who has nothing to lose”.

    It is through people being complicit that the atrocities can occur. Therefore, the blood is on OUR hands as much as it is theirs. The 99% are also perpetrators as they are ‘passively’ participating through allowance. If you cannot see this, you’ll be shown in your post Earth experience review–when it will be too late.

    Shining an imaginary light is OBVIOUSLY not saving lives.

    By the tme people decide they should stop supporting their own demise, it wil be too late. They will likely have been made completely powerless and the last few years will look like a picnic in comparison.

    But never mind, just continue to denying and fantasizing. Me, apparently I just got off the 3D printer, what would I know. I’m just another victim being pulled into dystopia against my will through others’ dissociate conditions.

  3. john

    Once the internet is owned by the state freedoms will surely follow. but there will always be ways around it. long live freedom. love to all.