While many Republicans were not happy with the net neutrality rules proposed by the FCC earlier this month, the plan is now coming under fire from advocates of net neutrality.
According to some net neutrality advocates, the plans have a number of legal holes as to how the FCC intends on enforcing their new rules.
"Wheeler's proposal has genuine merits, but all he's doing is clarifying the FCC's legal authority to prevent blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of traffic and to require Internet providers to provide transparency as to their data practices," said ex-FCC attorney Blair Levin. "It's not an irrelevant proposal, but we're really debating how to retain the status quo, and nobody is saying the status quo is horrible and we have to change it. The current law just won't allow the FCC to protect the status quo."
Essentially, while the FCC's plan is certainly a step in the right direction, it doesn't outline a plan in particular. There are two examples in history of a violation of net neutrality, and in neither case was the FCC able to act. The FCC's new rules will allow it to have more power over future lawsuits.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. It should keep Internet service providers in line, not allowing them to violate net neutrality.
Of course, Internet service providers aren't happy with this. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said that if the FCC continues on its current plan, "there will be litigation." While he did not elaborate and explain the grounds for a potential lawsuit, he did mention that a lawsuit would be on the horizon.
In fact, it is likely that a number of Internet service providers will be involved in a lawsuit against the FCC should it go ahead and vote to enforce its latest proposal. Stephenson argues that the FCC has lost sight of its initial goal when it comes to net neutrality.
"We've been talking about 'net neutrality' for a long time," he said in an interview. "But now it's moved to 'regulating the Internet.'"
In fact, AT&T has already taken action against the FCC's plan. When reclassification of the Internet was first proposed, the company halted its rollout of its gigabit Internet service, which is currently being offered in many cities where Google operates its Google Fiber Internet service.
Because of the potential lawsuits involved with the FCC's proposal it will likely be a long time before the Internet is actually reclassified, however only time will tell exactly how long.