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FCC Finally Dumps 400-Page Net Neutrality Plan – and Here's Why It Says It's So Long
Photo credit: Shutterstock

FCC Finally Dumps 400-Page Net Neutrality Plan – and Here's Why It Says It's So Long

"It takes some space."

The FCC released its final 400-page plan Thursday that outlines the new internet rules and regulations approved by the five commissioners February 26. The length of the document, according to one senior FCC official, is to make sure that the court has enough information in front of it "if and when" the decision winds up in court.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

While explaining that, for years, Republican and Democratic chairmen of the FCC have agreed the Internet should remain open, the two sides have mostly disagreed on how to legally enforce such a policy.

"The chairman's goal here is to put effective, enforceable internet rules in place once and for all and to do that they to be sustained legally," the official, who was speaking on background, told reporters Thursday.

"That means, for example, we've got 4 million comments, a lot of very learned and thoughtful points of view clashing in front of us and we want to take the time and pages as it were to address important contentions about how the rules should be shaped, what they should achieve and what legal basis they should stand upon."

And with regard to those same "contentions" surrounding the rules, the official admitted the agency "would not be surprised" if it gets sued and taken to court.

"We want to have the absolute strongest basis in court and so we've taken great care to address contentions that are made to explain both the factual and the legal bases for our decisions so that that the court has the most fulsome possible explanation in front of it if and when litigation ensues," the official said.

"That takes some time and as you can see from the release today it takes some space," the official added.

Even before the final vote tally last month, Republicans were already vowing legal action if the plan went through. Now that it has, all but certain is the possibility that the agency will find itself defending the controversial "power grab," as one Republican senator called it, in court.

“I still think that they have approached this in a very political way and if you look at the statements that are being made by the Republican members of the commission, this is going to be a very partisan vote and issue where it could be very bipartisan if they would have allowed a legislative process to go forward and us to work with Democrats on Capitol Hill,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told TheBlaze shortly before the FCC's vote.

Thune, along with many in his party, has argued the decision is one that should be left up to Congress to decide, not the FCC. In his remarks to the commission just before the vote, Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai agreed with Thune, calling the plan a “monumental shift toward government control of the Internet” and a “rapid departure” from market-oriented approaches.

Likewise, Republican Commissioner Mike O’Rielly suggested legal challenges lie ahead, telling the commission in his remarks just before the vote that the plan is “not likely to survive judicial scrutiny."

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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