In what sounds like a promo for “Revenge of the Sith”, the Net Neutrality plot take another turn just as we all thought we knew how the story was going to end. With the results of this week’s election, the Republican Party has gained full control of Congress. This is obviously bad news for Obama, but what does it mean for Net Neutrality pundits? If all goes along party lines, the FCC will now be under major pressure to back off regulating the Internet and approve the Comcast/Time-Warner deal.
Already a major issue during the campaigning, Net Neutrality policy has traditionally been clearly divided along party lines. Mr Wheeler’s FCC will now lack the support of the Democrat majority and find it tough to get any support for redefining the Internet as a utility or his latest “Frankenstein” hybrid Internet model.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader from Kentucky, and five other top-ranking Republicans told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a letter that adopting net neutrality is “dangerous,” “ill-advised,” and “unauthorized.”
- “Rather than attempting further legal contortions to encumber modern communications networks with last century’s rules, the Commission should work with the Congress to develop clear statutory authority and direction for the agency so that it can be a productive regulator for the 21st century marketplace,” the letter dated May 13th 2014.
Big Money riding on Net Neutrality outcome
There has been big money behind both sides of the Net Neutrality debate in the form of campaign contributions and pressure from funded lobby groups. Both sides of the debate have a substantial money riding on the final outcome of the debate. This article published in arstechnica in September, titled “Senators opposing net neutrality rake in more campaign cash” claims:
- “Money and the public lining up on opposite sides of the net neutrality debate” with Senators who have vocalized their opposition to net neutrality are taking in, on average, 40 percent more campaign cash from the broadband-delivery industry than those who support it, according to an analysis of campaign data.”
One would be a little naïve to think the big content hitters on the other side of the Net Neutrality debate are just crossing their fingers and hoping for the best while their opposition is pumping serious money into shifting the outcome.