Yesterday, Americans for Tax Reform’s Digital Liberty Project filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission in strong opposition to their attempt to regulate the Internet for the first time in history. Under the FCC’s plan, the Internet would be subject to onerous regulations under Title II of the Communications Act that were designed in the 1930s for monopoly telephone carriers – 60 years before the Internet was even conceived.
Our comments focused on the many effects these regulations would have and the vast bipartisan opposition it faces, including:
- The regulations could result in as many as 500,000 to 700,000 jobs lost and a GDP decrease of $62 to $80 billion over the next 5 years.
- Since 2004, the price to access the Internet has dropped by 22.7 percent, while consumer prices rose by 13 percent. Yet, under the FCC’s plan, consumer bills could rise by as much as $55 per month.
- The plan creates great uncertainty for businesses looking to invest in broadband expansion. The FCC says they do not want to apply most regulations under Title II to the Internet, and then simultaneously ask the question: “Are there others [regulations] that should be added to this list?” This uncertainty has already impacted stock prices and individual company investments.
- Virtually all Congressional Republicans and at least 77 House and Senate Democrats – together a vast majority in Congress – have sent letters in opposition. U.S. courts and multiple presidential administrations of both political parties have set longstanding precedent that the Internet should remain unregulated. Most importantly, the American public opposes Internet regulations 53 to 27 percent.
Meanwhile, the comment process appears more of a procedural nuisance for FCC Chairman Genachowski than anything else. While the FCC’s proceeding was intended to ask how (if at all) the Internet should be regulated, the Chairman and the Commission’s majority have already sounded off on a regulatory plan called the “Third Way.”
For a copy of the comments, click here.