Amidst the Federal Communications Commission’s overzealous drive to regulate the Internet, Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) today introduced a bill that would curb the ability for the FCC to apply regulations at whim. The Freedom for Consumer Choice Act (or FCC Act) requires the FCC to provide clear evidence of a market failure before any regulations on the Internet could be enacted. It also requires the Commission to review the potential costs of its actions (which we’ve partially highlighted here, here, and here) and to revisit regulations every five years to ensure they are still relevant.
Sen. DeMint's legislation rightly questions the FCC's Internet regulation scheme, while simultaneously calling the Commission out for failing to justify the need for such regulations. It already has the support of Sens. Hatch (R-Utah), Ensign (R-Nev.), Thune (R-S.D.), Coburn (R-Okla.), Cornyn (R-Texas), and Sessions (R-Ala.). From ATR’s letter of support to the U.S. Senate:
Today, over 95 percent of Americans have access to high-speed broadband by the FCC’s own admission. The Internet is universally regarded as free, open, and flourishing. It has become a vital backbone in the American economy, outpacing the overall economy nearly four to one. The telecommunications and IT industries are a source of hundreds of billions in U.S. investment – nearly half of all non-structural investment – and have created hundreds of thousands of jobs. Yet, the FCC’s onerous regulatory ambitions will severely imperil this and future innovation, investment, and job growth.
To date, a vast bipartisan majority in Congress have expressed concern that the FCC’s regulatory proposal will be detrimental to broadband expansion and adoption. U.S. courts have ruled that the Internet should remain unregulated and that the FCC is attempting to “shatter” the bounds of its authority. Minority groups, family groups, labor unions, and limited government activists alike are part of the public’s overwhelming chorus of opposition to the Commission’s plan.
To see the entire letter, click here.