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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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3 comments

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JJ Ghatt, Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt. Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt said: JenebaSpeaks Latest Blog Post – Going rogue: Regulatory Agency Style! http://bit.ly/diZNVS […]

  • Jeneba, I too wonder if anyone who was in a position to make any actual decisions was listening when I visited the FCC — and I did so several times. The folks to whom I spoke who were “farther down” in the chain of command seemed very professional, receptive, and understanding. But the higher I went in the organization — and this was especially so when I spoke to assistants to the Democratic Commissioners — the more they seemed to have already made up their minds, and to have done so on the basis of politics rather than input from the public. I fear that the lobbyists for “network neutrality” regulation — most of them supported by Google — have managed to manipulate the Commissioners (who are political appointees) and also members of Congress into believing that this is a partisan issue, which of course cuts off rational thought in many if not most of them. As a small businessman and ISP from far outside the Beltway, I despair of being heard at all — much less being able to convince these people to even consider a “real world” point of view. Is it hopeless in today’s political environment to hope that they will?

  • I hear you, Brett. What’s left for a wary and concerned small business operator to do in a situation like this? I, personally, am perplexed and searching for recourse.

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