Obama Supports Net Neutrality, FCC Fears Lawsuits

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President Barack Obama decided to speak out for stronger net neutrality rules for Internet service providers, but the Federal Communications Commission, the agency overseeing the regulation are fearing lawsuits.

Apparently regulating these providers under Title II of the Communications Act opens the FCC to legislation, according to the Washington Post. While net neutrality is supposed to have all service providers treat all Internet traffic the same, beefing up Title II would give the agency more power and that's not good news for Internet service providers such as Verizon -- which basically said it would "sue the federal government over any application of Title II."

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler previously announced he wanted to get net neutrality squared away by the end of this year. Since it's already mid-November, that's pretty unlikely -- especially if the agency is trying to dodge litigation. The reasoning is that the proposals for net neutrality are unprecedented legally, and while some say that both the FCC and the White House are willing to take on the lawsuits, they may not be ready to take on all comers.

"We're going to get sued," a senior FCC official told the Post. "But we want to be on firm legal footing. The litigators in the agency want to be sure to do everything to minimize the legal risk." 

So far, the agency is debating whether to go full-bore, or to gradually start regulation, such as a "minimal quality of Internet traffic".  Others, such as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) suggest "applying nearly all of Title II" and holding off the tough stuff. 

In short, if there is some regulation, it looks as if net neutrality rules are essentially going to be gutted to avoid litigation. IT seems as if 3.7 million comments isn't enough of a "public record" to make the agency stand up against impending lawsuits.

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