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Going rogue: Regulatory Agency Style!

So it looks like that despite the fact that the net neutrality proceeding is still open and the FCC has only just received reply comments in its Open Internet proceeding this past Monday, Chairman Genachowski has been going around  announcing that no matter what, the agency is intent on its plan of action to adopt net neutrality principles. This concerns me because it appears the agency is NOT planning on taking into account all perspectives. I feel like a jaded lover. Was this entire proceeding a simple case of “going through the motions?” Did those of us who filed for the first time this past Monday waste our time?

Openness and transparency were the buzz words that I and many other Obama supporters associated with his campaign and with the early part of his administration.

I liked the message tremendously. I bought into it hook, line and sinker – the whole fishing boat. Therefore, whenever I notice one of his agencies “going rogue”, so to speak, and imposing new rules without engaging the stakeholders fully, I can’t help but get a bit disappointed.  As for the FCC, I am very hopeful that the new FCC commissioners who are trying to lead the nation from the bottom ranks in terms of Broadband Deployment and Access will do a thorough and comprehensive job implementing the National Broadband Plan, and not step on too many toes on the way.

I certainly wouldn’t want it to ignore the pleas of many who, like several of my clients, have warned the FCC to seriously listen to the concerns of women and minority business owners about how some elements of the proposed net neutrality rules would impact their businesses.

This is serious stuff. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods here.

Sometimes the agency wears blinders.  With each new article and blog post I read, I get frustrated because it really appears as if the agency is determined to impose regulations without really digging deep and taking into consideration all of the potential impact on women and minorities. The FCC says it wants to preserve openness and opportunities and protect consumers and small business, but when it proposes a traffic prioritization rule that would effectively ban ISPs’ incubation of women and minority new entrants, it makes me wonder what’s really going on and who’s pulling the strings.

I am an eternal optimist, so I am going to go out on a limb and say that I am still hopeful that the FCC will listen to the voices of women and minority entrants trying to kick down the Internet door – and at least launch hearings to thoroughly study these issues and hear us out.

Take a peek at the reply comments I filed on behalf of several digital entrepreneurs who stand to lose out if some of this stuff comes to pass and let me know what you think.

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