On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and senators and ask them to oppose the Save the Internet Act, H.R. 1644 and S. 682. Introduced by Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Save the Internet Act would repeal the Trump administration’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order and re-implement big government Title II regulations.
In 2015, the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a rule to reclassify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This would put the Internet under FCC jurisdiction, and implement outdated, heavy-handed regulations on a part of the economy that had created massive wealth and innovation under the light touch regulatory framework of Title I. It was a solution in search of a problem.
Thankfully, after investment dropped, the FCC under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai repealed those regulations and issued the Restoring Internet Freedom Order last year which put the Internet back under the governance of the framework under which it thrived for years. Since then, investment has risen again and broadband speeds are also on their way up.
Light touch regulations also give providers the space to innovate in the ways they build out broadband infrastructure in underserved communities. Too many Americans have limited Internet access. We can bridge this “digital divide” by lowering government barriers. Erecting new ones, as this bill suggests, will only slow that progress.
The so-called “Save the Internet” Act would repeal the Restoring Internet Freedom Order and once again put the Internet back into the hands of big government regulators. The proponents of this bill have demonstrated no harm done in all of the years of the Internet being a Title I entity. They only conjure up scary hypotheticals. The truth is, the Internet became a giant under Title I and has continued to thrive since it was re-implemented.
This legislation also presents property rights issues. The “tubes” used to deliver Internet by Internet service providers (ISP) are their property. Mandating how that property may be used and what prices they can charge is a violation of their property rights. Any lasting framework set forth for Internet governance must embrace this principle. The Save the Internet Act, on the other hand, outright rejects it.
This bill is also a ploy to increase government control over the lives of Americans. Because the Internet has become an integral part of our modern lives and economy, big government Democrats like Nancy Pelosi see this as an opportunity to micro-manage activity that happens there. Many Americans depend on the Internet for critical information concerning their livelihood. Any policy proposal that risks the stability of the Internet should be vehemently opposed.
For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and senators and ask them to oppose the Save the Internet Act, H.R. 1644 and S. 682.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks