The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would put the internet back firmly under government control. The primarily Democrat-backed Save The Internet legislation would rescind the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, adopted only a short time ago, and re-impose “net neutrality,” i.e., the previous and very restrictive Title II regulatory scheme.
All five FCC Commissioners weighed in with short, but pointed, statements. Not surprisingly, Democrats Rosenworcel and Starks were ecstatic that the government would once more wield tight reins over the Internet. This bill “gets right what the FCC got so wrong,” opined an almost gleeful Ms. Rosenworcel, who added, “That decision put the FCC on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.” Apparently, she believes heavy-handed government control is the answer to most regulatory issues.
Fellow Democrat Commissioner Starks followed suit, saying the proposed legislation “protects net neutrality by restoring enforceable rules and reinstating the FCC as the cop on the beat responsible for protecting consumers.” He not only thinks that the FCC should be the promulgator of stringent rules, but the heavy-handed enforcer of them as well. “The endurance of the open internet cannot be left to chance or the whims of massive profit-maximizing corporations,” he added in a sort of AOC/ Bernie moment.
The three Republican Commissioners did not look kindly on the proposed legislative overturn of their light touch regulatory order. Commissioner O’Rielly called the bill a “political statement built on a broken abomination of an FCC rulemaking. I remain firmly opposed to any attempt to subject the Internet to burdensome and anachronistic public utility regulation, especially any effort to ban paid prioritization.”
Commissioner Carr stated in no uncertain terms that “the United States has turned the page on the failed broadband policies of the Obama Administration. By getting the government out of the way, Internet speeds are up 40%, the digital divide is closing across rural America, and the U.S. now has the world’s largest deployment of next generation of 5G networks.” In other words, he pointed out the benefits actually produced by the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, rather than what might happen under lighter regulation, which the Democrats constantly, and wrongly, predict.
Chairman Pai best summed up the Democrat-led attempt to reinstitute Title II Utility regulation thusly: “This legislation is a big-government solution in search of a problem. The Internet is (now) free and open, while faster broadband is deployed across America. This bill should not and will not become law.”
We hope that the U.S. Senate, when this bill comes up for vote, will agree with the Chairman.