The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to rollback Draconian net neutrality laws put in place by the previous administration. The governmental agency is holding their May 2017 Open Commission Meeting today in Washington, D.C. This vote has triggered protests by leftist groups eager to silence conservative viewpoints. Their goal? To stop the Online Hate Media or whatever!
Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai–appointed by President Obama, yet more free market in his approach–is leading the charge to expand Internet freedom under his leadership. Under the previous FCC chairman, the Internet became subjected to regulation as a “public utility” — which has been seen as an attack on Internet freedom. Pai said in April that net neutrality, especially Title II, enables government control of the Internet:
The Internet is the greatest free-market success story in history. And this is in large part due to a landmark decision made by President Clinton and a Republican Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In that legislation, they decided on a bipartisan basis that it was the policy of the United States “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”
No, it was all about politics. Days after a disappointing 2014 midterm election, and in order to energize a dispirited base, the White House released an extraordinary YouTube video instructing the FCC to implement Title II regulations. This was a transparent attempt to compromise the agency’s independence. And it worked.
In repealing Title II, the law in question, here’s what Chairman Pai hopes the FCC can provide for Americans:
First, it will bring high-speed Internet access to more Americans. Without the overhang of heavy-handed regulation, companies will spend more building next-generation networks. As those networks expand, many more Americans, especially low-income rural and urban Americans, will get high-speed Internet access for the first time. And more Americans generally will benefit from faster and better broadband.
Second, it will create jobs. More Americans will go to work building these networks. These are good-paying jobs, laying fiber, digging trenches, and connecting equipment to utility poles. And established businesses and startup entrepreneurs alike will take advantage of the networks that they build to create even more jobs.
Third, it will boost competition. Title II was designed for a monopoly. And a regulatory framework designed for a monopoly will tend to move the marketplace towards monopoly. It should therefore come as no surprise that we have seen greater consolidation during the Title II era. Heavy- handed regulations are especially tough on new entrants and small businesses that don’t have the armies of lawyers and compliance officers that large, well-established companies do. So if we want to encourage smaller competitors to enter into the broadband marketplace or expand, we must end Title II.
Fourth, this proposal is the best path toward protecting Americans’ online privacy. Privacy is a topic that has received a lot of attention lately. I understand that many disagreed with Congress’ decision to stop the FCC’s flawed privacy rules from going into effect later this year. But wherever you stand, one thing is indisputable: Congress was maintaining the status quo that the FCC put in place when it imposed Title II. That FCC decision actually stripped the Federal Trade Commission of its authority to regulate broadband providers’ privacy and data security practices. That’s because the FTC cannot regulate common carriers—which the prior FCC suddenly deemed broadband providers to be. This decision was a mistake.
As a result of Chairman Pai’s efforts, the Left has mobilized to undermine him and the FCC. Faux comedian John Oliver said “Go FCC Yourself” and protestors hounded his Arlington, VA house on Mother’s Day’s to make him “feel the heat” on net neutrality. Fortunately, Mr. Pai has been a good sport about all the hysteria. Here’s a recent video collaboration he did with IJ Review:
Here are some scenes from the protest in Washington, D.C. Undoubtedly, the majority of protestors are Democrats who generally suppress free speech of views that don’t belong to them:
— Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) May 18, 2017
— Free Press (@freepress) May 18, 2017
The Internet is not broken. The FCC votes today to create fast and slow lanes. Net neutrality is necessary for a modern economy & democracy.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 18, 2017
— Brendan Bordelon (@BrendanBordelon) May 18, 2017
— Janna Crabb (@jcrabb) May 18, 2017
Not surprisingly, the groups behind the protest are none-other-than leftist front groups:
Free Press, Demand Progress and Protect Our Internet among groups protesting outside FCC rn pic.twitter.com/MM3Nh3QAbx
— Li Zhou (@liszhou) May 18, 2017
— Dana Floberg (@dana_flo) May 18, 2017
Bless their hearts. A reversal of Title II enabling Net Neutrality should be welcomed. Keep up the good work, Chairman Pai!