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A Bureaucratic Farce

That’s what Andrew Orlowski of the UK’s The Register calls Friday’s decision by the Federal Communications Commission to cite Comcast for unlawful violation of "network neutrality" principles. One can agree or disagree with the proposition, endorsed by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, that Internet users should be free to reach any site without interference by their ISPs.

“We are preserving the open character of the Internet,” Martin said in an interview after the 3-to-2 vote. “We are saying that network operators can’t block people from getting access to any content and any applications.”

But it is just absurd to conclude that any federal government agency should be allowed to issue what it expressly terms a set of non-binding "principles" and then make an official finding of illegality when a company fails to follow those principles. Confusing is an understatement here.  Dissenting Commissioner Rob McDowell’s complaint that the FCC here is actively regulating the Internet — or at least historically unregulated "enhanced services" offered by ISPs, unlike common carrier telecommunications services — is spot on. 

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