“Senate Republicans moved Monday afternoon to prevent the FCC’s proposed rules on net neutrality with an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would tie up funding at the agency for new regulatory mandates. Observers said, however, that the move was unlikely to be approved in the Democrat-majority Congress,” Cecilia Kang reports for The Washington Post.

Kang reports, “Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), ranking member of Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said in a release: ‘We must tread lightly when it comes to new regulations. Where there have been a handful of questionable actions in the past on the part of a few companies, the Commission and the marketplace have responded swiftly. The case has simply not been made for what amounts to a significant regulatory intervention into a vibrant marketplace. These new regulatory mandates and restrictions could stifle investment incentives,’ she said.”

“Senators John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), David Vitter (R-La.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John Thune (R-S.D. co-sponsored the amendment,” Kang reports. “The two Republican commissioners at the five-member FCC issued a joint statement in response to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s announcement, expressed concern that conclusions have been prematurely drawn about how consumers and businesses are being affected by Web policies. ‘We are concerned that both factual and legal conclusions may have been drawn before the process has begun,’ said Commissioners Robert McDowell and Merideth Baker. ‘We do not believe that the Commission should adopt regulations based merely on anecdotes, or in an effort to alleviate the political pressures of the day, if the facts do not clearly demonstrate that a problem needs to be remedied.'”

Kang reports, “Some wireless providers have balked at the proposal, with AT&T saying it does not agree that the rules should apply to its giant national wireless network because of capacity constraints. Genachowski said in his speech that the rules would apply to all platforms – which would include wireless – but that such questions would be part of a process that will begin late October to come up with new rules. If approved, final rules could be drawn next spring.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we said back in August 2006: “We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.”

That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “iWill” for the heads up.]