ATR & Digital Liberty support FCC Chairman Pai’s proposal to roll back title II regulations on the Internet

On Wednesday FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a plan to roll back government micromanagement of the internet based on a tenuous claim evoking a half-century old monopoly telephone regulation. In contrast to the shadow politics of the FCC under the prior administration, the current Chairman has released to the public the plan for a new framework well ahead of the next FCC Open Meeting. 

Contrary to longstanding, bipartisan tradition, the most recent prior FCC leadership loudly dismissed the call for transparency, and ultimately passed an Order without giving the public opportunity to comment. Restoring the prior openness of the Commission, Chairman Pai said “you may disagree with what is in the proposed rule-making, but, this time, you will know what is in it.”

The following can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform:

The Telecommunications industry is now 16% of our economy – roughly the same amount as healthcare. The Obama Administration wanted government control of communications just as it wanted to control our healthcare choices through Obamacare and capital flows through Dodd-Frank.

Because of deregulation, the internet has grown into the creative and economic engine that has kept America at the forefront of worldwide innovation without meddling government bureaucrats. 

But in 2015 the Obama administration claimed government control was better than consumer control and competition. They ignored existing competition and innovation and imposed utility regulations based on a law designed for the economy of the Great Depression, known shorthand as Title II.

Customers should be able to access what they want online. Title II moves us away from this goal, not towards it. Government created utilities – a nice word for monopolies – operate like all monopolies in history.  Poorly.

Thank you to Chairman Pai for taking the steps to roll back excessive regulation.

The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

By rolling back Title II regulations from the Obama era, Chairman Pai’s plan, unveiled today, focuses on keeping the internet free, protecting online privacy and preventing government micromanagement of communications infrastructure. This paves the way for revitalized investment in American broadband infrastructure that will bring more jobs and economic benefits to Americans everywhere.

Chairman Pai’s proposed rulemaking suggests we restore the same bipartisan approach under Clinton and Gingrich, who agreed that the aggressive regulation of the 1930 copper wire telephone network was inappropriate for the future. They were right. Since then, competition and innovation engendered by the Internet has dramatically changed every aspect of American life. 

We all agree access to online content should be preserved. We firmly disagree that this heavy-handed Title II nonsense achieves that, or anything good for that matter. Laws should be made in Congress, not at the FCC.

Photo Credit: The Hill Events