Today, more than 65 organizations and individuals concerned about government overreach joined a coalition urging the FCC to turn away from stifling Title II regulation and return to a light touch regulatory framework for governing the Internet. 

Think tanks, advocacy organizations, and individuals from across the country joined together in opposition to these rules, including: Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Governor Paul LePage, ALEC, TechFreedom, Alabama Policy Institute, The Buckeye Institute, Citizen Outreach, Florida Center Right Coalition, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, Granite State Taxpayers, The Heartland Institute, Independence Institute, Maine Center Right Coalition, Maryland Taxpayers Association, Montanans for Tax Reform, Montana Policy Institute, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition, Public Interest Institute, Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, and Rio Grande Foundation.

The coalition wrote:

Imposing Title II regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) means the Internet experience will no longer be shaped by consumers — but instead by government.  Rather than being able to respond to what American households want and need in terms of content, advances in technology, information access, and delivery methods, the Internet experience would be determined by regulators who would have control over rates, types of services, and service footprints. Title II also opens the door to new meddling by state and local governments. Congress created the “information service” classification in Title I precisely to avoid this outcome.”

Innovation and investment require that government’s role be clear, consistent and limited. The “general conduct standard” invented by the Title II order is hopelessly vague. When asked what this standard meant, Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler simply said: “we don’t really know.” This is really no standard at all, because it leaves the regulator with unchecked discretion. No business can plan its investments under such uncertainty or threat of arbitrary enforcement.

Low barriers to entry increase competition and thereby promote reliable Internet access. Far from “clamping down on big guys,” looming legal uncertainty about how the FCC will regulate the Internet hurts small Internet providers most — those that connect people in unserved and underserved areas. The coming next few years will see the deployment of 5G wireless technology, which avoids the huge expenses of wiring the “last mile.” This could fundamentally change the competitive dynamics of the broadband market, erasing the line between wireless and wireline services, and driving an unprecedented level of competition, at least in most markets. Discouraging such new entry would only harm consumers. 

We urge the FCC to return to the demonstrated success of the light touch regulatory model. The Internet thrived nearly twenty years under a “Hands off the Net!” bipartisan consensus against Internet regulation.  We urge the FCC to return to that approach. Ultimately, it is Congress alone that should decide how to update communications law.”

Click here to see the full list of signatories and text of the coalition comments submitted to the FCC.