The FCC Chairman, in a letter to Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo), defended once again the Commission’s recent order to restore light touch regulation to the Internet. Senator Bennet had asked that the FCC rescind that Order and bring more stringent utility regulation back to the Internet.
Chairman Pai reminded the Senator that in 1996, “at the dawn of the commercial Internet…President Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed that it would be the policy of the United States to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market” that at that time, and still today, “exists for the internet.”
In 2015, however, “the FCC jettisoned this successful, bipartisan approach…and decided to subject the Internet to utility-style regulation designed in the 1930s to govern Ma Bell.” Calling that decision a mistake, Chairman Pai pointed out “there was no problem to solve” and “we weren’t living in digital dystopia.”
He further pointed out that the heavier regulatory solution didn’t work, because consumers weren’t complaining about ISPs blocking access to content, but rather about no access at all, or a lack of competition among providers.
He concluded by saying that the lighter regulatory framework will always allow consumers access to all of the websites and services they want, because regulation and regulators will continue to guard the free and open Internet.
The Chairman sent similar letters to other members of Congress, mostly Democrats, who were also concerned that the Order would somehow bring about the end of the Internet as we know it.
His arguments make very good sense.