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Washington, DC 20001

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Blog

Net Neutrality Rent Seeking Begins

When the FCC announced that it would regulate the internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, we predicted a number of undesirable outcomes. One of these concerns was the ability of firms to petition the regulatory agency for special favors, and file complaints against competitors without having to actually demonstrate harm. Such an environment encourages harassment suits and rent seeking behaviors by companies who direct resources into influencing government rather than towards innovation and competition.

06/24/2015
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Blog

Obamanet could be the next Obamaphone

Proponents call it necessary for bridging a societal gap. Opponents call it wasteful and beyond the point of reform. Call it what you like, the long-running controversial “Obamaphone” debate has once again been ignited. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced a proposal to extend the Lifeline phone subsidy program, better known as the “Obamaphone,” to now cover the internet.

05/28/2015
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Blog

FCC transparency bills gain positive progress during subcommittee vote

The name of the game was transparency during Wednesday’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing, where several proposed draft bills were voted to move forward to the full committee. The proposed bills were introduced in light of the FCC’s recent Open Internet Order, a massive new regulatory regime that prompted many complaints about the process under which it was released. Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden opened the hearing with remarks on the overwhelming need for the FCC to change its decision making process in such a way as to increase transparency and consumer access. Chairman Walden stated, “[t]he FCC’s work doesn't only impact the industries that it regulates, but as daily consumers of communications services, our own lives as well.”

05/21/2015
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Blog

The FCC's New Rules Are a Predictable Monstrosity

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just released its final rules on how they will regulate the internet. You know, the rules they voted to pass several weeks ago. Better late than never, I guess.

03/12/2015
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Blog

Netflix's Net Neutrality Walk of Shame

Last week, I wrote about how a number of pro-Net Neutrality groups are unhappy with the FCC’s decision to broadly regulate internet service providers as telecommunications utilities, applying the text of a decades-old law to the most rapidly-moving and innovative sector in our economy.

03/05/2015
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Blog

FCC’s Net Neutrality: Fixing a Nonexistent Problem

Last Thursday the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to regulate broadband internet as a public utility. This decision to regulate the internet was made mostly through secret meetings without public comment and less than a decade after the FCC declined to regulate the internet because there was no necessity. Even worse, because the 300-plus page new rule has not been made public yet, we still do not know exactly what is in the rule. Since the Federal Trade Commission already has the authority to protect consumers from anticompetitive business practices, the FCC’s new rules are another example of government trying to fix a problem that is nonexistent. The new rules may in fact harm consumers both by limiting competition, and by preventing the FTC from filing charges against internet providers once they are determined to be common carriers.

03/03/2015
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Blog

Pro-Net Neutrality Groups Protest FCC Overreach

The FCC’s recent decision to reclassify the internet as a utility is ruffling some feathers, but not the ones you might expect. The Federal Communications Commission, acting under orders from the president, has been largely successful in representing its decision as a matter of Net Neutrality, of regulating the specific ways in which service providers can manage bandwidth.

03/02/2015
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Blog

Who Rules the Internet? FCC Bureaucrats

Democracy and Power 101: Government is Power The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. —James Madison, Speech in the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830

02/25/2015
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Blog

Net Neutrality Wrapup: What Does the FCC's Decision Mean?

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of a controversial proposal to regulate the internet as a public utility, similar to telephone calls. The vote came as expected, down party lines with the three Democrats supporting and the two Republicans opposed. The decision is no surprise, but it leaves us with two questions that need to be answered: What does this mean, and where do we go from here?

02/25/2015
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Blog

The Battle for Internet Freedom Is Not Over

On February 26th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), acting under the direction of President Obama, will vote on a 300-plus-page rule regulate the internet in much the same way it currently regulates utilities. The FCC’s new powers will be broad, and mark an end to the decades of unregulated internet service that has proven to be the greatest source of economic growth and innovation the world has ever seen. That the Commission will vote to pass the rule is all but a certainty.

02/13/2015

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