Even Left Groups Mobilize Against A Government Takeover of the Internet

by Capitol Confidential

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission will consider “a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on policies to preserve the open Internet.” That’s a long way of saying that the FCC, led by Julius Genachowski, Obama’s old friend from Harvard Law School, will take its first steps towards forcing through net neutrality, a controversial policy that critics say would amount to a government takeover of the internet.

Internet Service Providers—the ones who have actually invested in the architecture and infrastructure that enables us all to access the internet—have long been opposed to net neutrality, as have conservatives and libertarians concerned about maintaining free markets and promoting innovation and quality service.

But, with concerns that the FCC might now act to push net neutrality through, some voices less traditionally associated with opposition to the policy are speaking out regarding the proposed rulemaking, too. In fact, a number of Democrats and groups typically aligned with the left—the online component of which has long treated net neutrality as a top three policy objective—seem to be feeling less than warm and fuzzy about increased government intervention with regard to the internet.

Those groups include the Communications Workers of America labor union, which in a letter to Chairman Genachowski from Thursday, raised concerns regarding the impact that the FCC’s rulemaking could have on job creation at a time of 10 percent unemployment. Groups like the Asian American Justice Center, National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Urban League, keen to avoid a widening of the “digital divide,” also voiced concerns in a letter to the FCC dated October 13.

Democratic Governors, including Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, have urged caution with regard to the issue. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s Democratic Gov. Brad Henry wrote to Genachowski earlier this month to tout the positive effects of his state’s model of “light or no regulation for landline, broadband and wireless services.”

Last Thursday, 72 Democratic members of the House of Representatives, also in a letter to Genachowski, wrote that “it is our strong belief that continued progress in expanding the reach and capabilities of broadband networks will require the Commission to reiterate, and not repudiate, its historic commitment to competition, private investment and a restrained regulatory approach.”

Read the rest at BigGovernment.com

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