After the mid-term Republican landslide in the US House, many political observers proclaimed that hopes for true "Net Neutrality" policies passing Congress had gone up in flames along with the Democratic majority.
Now the last chance for those rules, known to supporters as the First Amendment of the Internet, may be slipping away as well.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which would have to act independent of Congress, is formulating a series of proposals based upon principles from legislation first proposed by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), according to a Monday report by Politico.
Waxman, who vowed that he would support the so-called 'Net Neutrality' policy proposals favored by most Democrats and progressives, instead put forward a legislative framework that explicitly prohibits the FCC from regulating broadband Internet under Title II of the Communications Act. It would have effectively enshrined proposals by telecom and data giants Google and Verizon, which mandate neutrality for wireline networks but allow for tiered services over wireless.
A disturbing number of Democrats who signed on to a net neutrality program were defeated in the House in 2010. They were targeted and removed from office by Super-PACs with unlimited cash and anonymous donors. Unfortunately, it's looking like now the FCC will fail to take any action, meaning that a de facto tiered system will be created in the meantime as Google, Verizon, and other net giants plunge ahead.
Even the halfway system would have been some improvement. Now? Who knows where the net will be in two years, or online news services, or bloggers, or anything. What's to stop Google from having Droid connections to any of its Google products go ten times faster than iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows Phone 7 phones, or cutting a deal with Verizon to give its network priority traffic?
And so it goes. Which internet will you be able to access in the future?