In his news conference after the FCC's Thursday meeting on VoIP, TR Daily reports that William Maher, chief of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau, said: "One thing I think is clear is that the Commission took the step of proving that it would evaluate services in a fact-specific, case-by-case, thoughtful way, rather than trying to make very broad, sweeping generalizations."
We'll have to reserve final judgment until the full text of the FCC actions in the Pulver.com case and in the new VoIP Rulemaking proceeding are released. But the sentiments expressed by Mr. Maher favoring a case-by-case adjudicative common law approach has much to commend it as an approach for minimizing regulatory overreaching. Although I tried--see my February 3 piece "VoIP Regulation--A Plea For Procedural Modesty"--I couldn't have put it much better than Mr. Maher.
I reiterate: The Commission's forthcoming NPRM likely will produce sounder policy that is not unnecessarily regulatory--and likely produce such a result in a more timely fashion--if the Commission avoids "broad sweeping generalizations" and offers instead concise, focused proposals for comment. Open-ended rulemakings encourage regulatory logrolling and regulatory tit-for-tats , or this-for-thats.
Three cheers for procedural modesty!