Quoted: Tim Wu on what’s next for net neutrality — ‘blood’

“There will be blood.”

Tim Wu, the Columbia Law School professor who coined the term “net neutrality,” on the litigation that’s likely to happen after the FCC adopts its new rules on the open Internet. Tuesday in Washington at the last of the roundtables on net neutrality — the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally — panelists told the New York Times that no matter which way the FCC leans, not everybody will be happy and someone will sue.

Broadband providers, for example, oppose reclassification under Title II of the Communications Act, which would give the FCC the power to regulate them as a telecom service, like a utility. Comcast and Verizon have won net neutrality cases against the FCC — in both cases the FCC was deemed to have insufficient authority over the companies.

More than 3 million comments were submitted to the FCC on this topic. Will the comments make a difference and lead to rules that would preserve a truly open Internet? In an analysis titled “A comment is not a vote,” Seeta Peña Gangadharan, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, writes of a couple of instances in which the FCC disregarded public comments on questions surrounding media ownership. With the exception of a couple of FCC commissioners,”the people I spoke with at the FCC considered citizen input during the media ownership proceeding as emotional and superficial content,” Gangadharan writes.

Wu told Recode he hopes FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler “will see the need to preserve and invoke the full power of the Commission, which is Title II.” But: “If Wheeler is going to stand firm against Title II, he’s got to offer something to people pushing it,” Berin Szoka of TechFreedom, a libertarian think tank opposing tighter regulations, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Wheeler has said he wants to have the new rules in place by the end of the year.

 

Photo of Tim Wu from Timwu.org.

 

 

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