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Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the Commission will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to examine the possibility of new regulations to ensure open access to the internet. The proposed rules will examine the issue of “net neutrality,” codifying and expanding existing policies on internet regulations.
“The proposed rules raise significant questions about the future development of the internet and the continued deployment of broadband networks,” said Wayne Brough, chief economist at FreedomWorks. “In essence, new rules could give the FCC the authority to regulate the internet.”
Not only will the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking strengthen the government’s control over the internet, but the rulemaking raises the possibility of expanding the regulations to cover the emerging wireless networks, a dynamic and competitive sector of the market that has provided consumers expanded services and falling prices. New mandates could limit this growth and reduce consumer welfare.
“Consumers should be concerned about the addition of new regulations that could reshape the internet,” said Brough. “There have been few incidents of problems in the past, and the FCC has ample authority to address any problems on a case-by-case basis should they emerge. To promote continued expansion of the internet, it is important to encourage capital investment and increased competition. Net neutrality regulations do neither.
“Net neutrality boils down to a classic debate over how investment will be determined—by the market or by regulators. Time and again, the market has proved a more efficient way to allocate resources, deliver services, and promote the innovation required to create the next generation of technology. As the internet matures and new content and applications require new functionality, we want to be sure that stifling regulations do not deter the expansion of the networks required to bring these services to consumers.”
FreedomWorks will be active in this rulemaking process, and encourage our activists nationwide to make their voices heard in this important debate over the future of the internet.