Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC's Misguided Net Neutrality Attempt


Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, 1:14 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform supports the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Verizon v. FCC, which vacated the FCC "Net Neutrality" rules. The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty and Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform:

"Federal agencies are consistently trying to overstep their boundaries and create rules and regulations without any mandate from Congress. The FCC has attempted, again, to regulate in a way that it has no authority to do so.

While the Court noted that the FCC does have authority to encourage the deployment of broadband infrastructure, the Court ruled against the FCC's order to impose anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules because those regulations are authorized under Title II "common carrier" regulations, which regulates basic carriers like landline phone service, on information service providers and therefore outside the authority of broadband's classification of an "information service".  

We know common carrier regulations are more restrictive,hinder growth and innovation. Title II regulations are the reason Google Fiber has refused to offer any kind of voice service as part of its Gigabit and Video packages- because they do not want to open up their innovative services to that kind of restrictive regulation.  Investment flows to the areas with the least hurdles and restrictions and we can see by the explosive growth in the Internet ecosystem that it is not broken. 

The Internet is already open and competitive and will remain so. We can all see that it is one of the greatest growing sectors of our economy.  Internet service providers benefit from users wanting to use their networks.  The more applications, video services, and other options available to consumers, the more consumers will use those networks and find ways to innovate.  

These companies do not have an incentive to degrade or block popular content on networks. Additionally, not all content uses the same amount of data to transmit - Facebook and Email interactions require far less data to connect quickly and efficiently than Netflix or FaceTime. Providing additional data transmission availability to high consumption apps does not mean that email or other low data consumption uses will be degraded. In other words, a fast lane does not necessarily mean a slow lane.  

What it means is that companies need to manage their networks so that consumers get the best user experience."

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