Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 35
Mayer Brown LLP
Net neutrality needs to get resolved legislatively. The constant
back-and-forth efforts of the FCC under different administrations are not going to provide the long-term certainty and stability that everyone in the Internet ecosystem needs. That
certainty only comes from legislation.
The current FCC is reviewing whether to reverse the Title II
reclassification decision [that] occurred in 2015, and legislators
have been talking about the need for legislation and talking
with interested parties about what it would look like. Hopefully
that legislative effort catches fire.
For the future of net neutrality, I would like to see a very light
regulatory touch with some basic rules that allow broadband
infrastructure providers as well as applications developers to
have the certainty they need to invest and innovate.
GIGI B. SOHN
Leadership in Government Fellow
Open Society Foundations
The immediate future of net neutrality is grim. The 2015
rules, which prohibit broadband providers from blocking,
throttling, or otherwise favoring or discriminating against
certain Internet traffic, are popular with Americans across
the political spectrum. Regardless, the Trump FCC is determined to repeal them and their supporting legal authority
(Title II of the Communications Act of 1934). This authority
ensures that consumers and competition are protected in
the highly consolidated and expensive broadband market.
I'm optimistic about net neutrality's long-term future,
however. Advocates will mount a strong legal challenge
to the repeal, and it will be hard for the FCC to demonstrate
that changes in the market and technology over two and
a half years warrant a complete reversal. Also, the FCC's rulemaking is rife with procedural errors that raise doubts
whether the agency has a complete record from which it
can make a reasoned decision.
I'm also optimistic because Americans, especially younger
Americans, are overwhelmingly supportive of strong net
neutrality rules grounded in the strongest legal authority.
So even if the FCC wins in court, a future FCC can reverse
the current leadership's ill-considered decision.
"The constant back-and-forth efforts of the
FCC . . . are not going to provide the long-term
certainty and stability that everyone in the
Internet ecosystem needs."
KSFM | LAW
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Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Oppenheim served as Law
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school at William & Mary, Ms. Oppenheim was an active
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published a note on gender inequality in medical research.
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