Yesterday, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted comments in support of the FCC’s proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Rule. This rule, proposed under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, would reverse FCC’s 2015 classification and regulation of Internet service providers (ISPs) as public utilities or common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, more commonly referenced as "net neutrality" rules. This would return ISPs to a light-touch regulatory framework that allowed for the Internet to grow and flourish into the revolutionary economic engine we know today.
Title II public utility regulation, on the other hand, risks stifling competition, investment, and innovation in terms of the Internet infrastructure and the companies deploying and managing the network. This regulatory-induced stagnation has occurred each time such public utility/common carrier regulations have been imposed on other industries, including the telephone, airline, railroad, and electric power sectors. Consumers face higher prices and reduced service under public utility/common carrier regulation due to regulations locking out competition and freezing other competitive incentives.
In short, Title II regulation would facilitate and exacerbate all of the perceived problems net neutrality advocates seek to combat and has already significantly deterred investment in broadband Internet infrastructure. It is for these reasons that a 1996 bipartisan agreement was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton to keep government Internet regulation to a minimum. The FCC’s 2015 rule directly contradicted the intent of Congress, granting near limitless power to FCC to regulate prices and practices of ISPs.
What’s more is FCC instituted these sweeping changes to two-decades’ worth of working light-touch regulation with little-to-no evidence of any sort of failure in the national ISP market. For these reasons, FreedomWorks Foundation enthusiastically supports the current FCC’s efforts to reverse the Title II designation and regulation of ISPs.
In addition to driving over 30,000 comments from FreedomWorks’ grassroots activists, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted formal comments from Director and General Counsel, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, as well as comments from Chief Economist Dr. Wayne Brough and Foundation Program Manager Patrick Hedger. You can read these formal comments by clicking on the links provided or in the attached documents below.