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A light-handed approach to the Internet, not regulation

October 20, 2014

By Thomas M. Lenard
The Hill

I had thought that, at the end of the day, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would pull back from subjecting broadband to public utility-type regulation by reclassifying it as a Title II telecommunications service. I couldn’t imagine that Chairman Tom Wheeler and his colleagues would want regulating the Internet to be their legacy.

But now I’m not so sure. Read More…

OnStar owner General Motors sides with wireless carriers in net neutrality battle with FCC

October 20, 2014

by Mike Dano
Fierce Wireless

The wireless industry earned a major supporter in its net neutrality battle with the FCC as OnStar owner General Motors issued a strong appeal for looser open Internet rules for wireless operators.

“We’ve observed assertions that under the same rules for fixed and mobile networks, certain defined exceptions for ‘reasonable network management’ for mobile broadband providers can provide the necessary flexibility,” wrote Harry Lightsey III, the executive director of GM’s Global Connected Consumer, in a letter to the FCC. “From our point of view, mobile broadband being delivered to a car moving at 75 mph down the highway–or for that matter, stuck in a massive spontaneous traffic jam–is a fundamentally different phenomenon from a wired broadband connection to a consumer’s home, and merits continued consideration under distinct rules that take this into account.” Read More…

Net neutrality: Lessons from energy regulation

October 20, 2014

By Naimish Patel and Hemant Taneja
The Hill

The FCC’s “Net Neutrality” proposal to allow for Internet fast lanes has sparked a debate over how to ensure a free and open Internet while incentivizing continued innovation. One of the reasons this debate captures people’s imagination is it seems like a new problem we’ve never had to deal with before. It’s not, and we have.

The FCC can learn a lot from how the country has dealt with energy regulation. Read More…

FCC Should Keep Its Hands Off The Internet, If It Wants Competition

October 17, 2014

by Michael K. Powell

Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler recently made an important speech focusing on the importance of competition in achieving our national broadband goals.

Competition has been at the core of communications policy in the modern era. But that was not always the case. In the last century, the government eschewed competition, believing that telecommunications was a “natural monopoly” and that competition was not feasible. The government worked to protect consumers from monopolistic harm through heavy common carriage regulation rather than encouraging competition. Read More…

‘Net Neutrality’ Theorist Tim Wu Faces Off in Totally Non-Neutral Debate

October 17, 2014

by Steve Rosenbush
The Wall Street Journal

One of the most important questions about the future of Internet regulation—and there are many—is how stricter rules on broadband carriers might shape the role of powerful Internet companies.

The basic issue is whether broadband companies, including the major telecommunications and cable TV companies, should be reclassified as utilities, which would enable the government to force them to offer service on the same terms to all customers, large or small. Many carriers fight that concept, known as net neutrality, arguing that they need to be able to charge major content providers for the massive network resources that they consume, mostly by distributing video over the Internet. Read More…

Thinking the Unthinkable – Part II

October 20, 2014

Randolph J. May
The Free State Foundation

In Scott Cleland’s recent piece titled, “Silicon Valley’s Biggest Internet Mistake,” he makes an important, too little addressed point: Were the FCC to classify Internet service as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act, this drastic step likely would have significant adverse international ramifications.

In a September 29 paper titled, “Thinking the Unthinkable: Imposing a ‘Utility Model’ on Internet Providers,” I explained, from a purely domestic policy perspective, why FCC imposition of the Title II common carrier utility model on broadband Internet providers should be “unthinkable.” The adverseinternational consequences provide another reason. Read More…

Stick It to the man via Net Neutrality

October 20, 2014

by Mike Wendy
Media Freedom

The title says it all.

So does this screen shot from a recent Twitter conversation I had on Net Neutrality with a “clicktavist” (pictured at right).

Paraphrasing, me (@Polisoniccom): What do you want from Net Neutrality / Title II?  Clicktavist (@RavenWolf_Yula): To hobble corporations.  Me: That’s not the FCC’s job.

Net Neutrality as killer corporate killer app.Net Neutrality as killer, corporate-hobbling app. Read More…

Red Tape Roundup: Reckoning The Cost of Federal Tax Compliance

October 15, 2014

by Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. 

The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes. —Albert Einstein

I remarked in Part 2 of this 2014 Paperwork and Red Tape Roundup series (consider this Part 3) that 2013’s 9.5 billion hours of federal paperwork burdens took up the equivalent of 13,488 human lifetimes.

The dollar cost of the federal tax component of all this complexity (direct compliance and efficiency losses) is not accounted for anymore by the federal government. But the estimated seven billion hours it takes to deal with Treasury Department paperwork is depicted in the federal Information Collection Budget. (Yes, there is such a publication.) Read More…

Don’t Rain on the Spectrum Reallocation Parade

October 15, 2014

by Gregory J. Vogt
Free State Foundation

I have been encouraged by recent government actions that advance efforts to reallocate more spectrum for mobile broadband use. This forward progress is essential in order to get closer to achieving the Administration’s goal of allocating 500 MHz of new spectrum for such use. These efforts should be continued in order to meet wireless broadband demand and to maintain the currently robust competition for wireless broadband subscribers. But there are clouds on the horizon that threaten to rain on this spectrum reallocation parade. Read More…

FCC Plans Stealth Internet Tax Increase

October 15, 2014

by Harold Fuchtgott-Roth

American politicians of all stripes clearly see and oppose the abuses of the Internet abroad. But our government officials are not aware that the Federal Communications Commission, without statutory authority, is proposing to expand its taxation and regulation of the Internet.

The relationship between the Internet and government has become a useful barometer of personal and economic freedom. Oppressive governments Read More…

Utility Regulation Will Make the Internet Rusty

October 10, 2014

Mike Wendy
Media Freedom

No one loves their public utilities. They’re slow, unresponsive to change, and only just good enough for government work, which isn’t saying much.

If you’d talk to progressives working in the Internet space, though, you’d hear a different story. They think that utilities, and the 19th Century regulation used to control them, are the greatest things since sliced bread.  You see, they want to make private U.S. broadband providers public utilities, and radical groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge and have pulled out all of the stops to get the Federal Communications Commission to do so.

Why? Read More…

Free State Foundation Comments

September 17, 2014

by Free State Foundation

On the issue of            )           AT&T and Direct TV merger

I. Introduction and Summary
These comments are filed in response to the Commission’s request for comments
concerning the agency’s review of the transfer of control of licenses in connection with the
proposed acquisition of DIRECTV by AT&T Inc. These comments do not endorse or oppose the
proposed merger. Rather, their purpose is to set out baseline principles by which the Commission
should evaluate this as well as other mergers and to provide a summary analysis of
AT&T/DIRECTV in light of those principles.
Mergers and acquisitions are competitive entrepreneurial activities Read More…

Free-Market Advocates’ Comments to FCC, Opposing Internet Regulation

July 15, 2014

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of  Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet

GN Docket No. 14-28

Comments of

Free-Market Advocates Opposed to Internet Regulation

For 10 years officials at the Federal Communications Commission have told Americans that the Internet will “break” unless the agency steps in to keep it “free and open.”  All the while, the Internet’s privately driven development has been vibrant, relentless and universal.  Nevertheless, at points during this same period the Commission twice sought to encumber the Internet with restrictive common carrier-like, Net Neutrality regulations.  In response to each of these actions, the DC Circuit twice struck down the agency’s overreach.  In the latest DC Circuit ruling – Verizon v. FCC[1] – the Court struck down the main thrust of the Commission’s arguments, but found that the Commission had some authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act.   The Commission has apparently undertaken the present Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to once again establish a regulatory regime in the absence of a market failure or a clear Congressional grant of authority.

The Internet is “free and open,” making the vast “network of networks” an integral engine for societal growth, participatory democracy and global commerce.  Its healthy development came primarily through the lack of government regulation, not because of it.  Although the Court seems to have offered the FCC a very narrow pathway to impose some form of Net Neutrality regulation on the Internet, nothing demands that the FCC go forward with its present plans.

Read More…

IFC Reply Comments to FCC: Title II Reclassification Unjustified, Unnecessary

August 12, 2010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of Framework for Broadband Internet Service                    

GN Docket No. 10-127

FCC Docket No. 10-114

 Reply Comments

of the Undersigned Members of the



The Commission is being asked by Free Press and other organizations to pursue a radical course of action – reclassifying information services as telecommunications services in order to regulate the Internet for the first time.  We write to urge the Commission to keep the Internet free of new government regulation and taxation and to refrain from rushing into such a potentially disastrous course of action.

Analysts are only beginning to grasp the extent of the disruptive and destructive consequences of regulating the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and the Commission is in no position to predict the outcome, much less assure Americans it will be positive.  Americans have heard political leaders admit that we will not know the full extent or nature of massive health care and financial services regulations until after the underlying legislation has been passed.  Now, Americans are facing the imposition of an even lesser-understood regulatory regime over the Internet without the benefit of any legislative process whatsoever.


IFC Supplemental Reply Comments: FCC Lacks Authority, Justification for Reclassifying Internet as Title II Service

April 26, 2010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
Preserving the Open Internet              GN Docket No. 09-191                                  
Broadband Industry Practices            WC Docket No. 07-52

Supplemental Reply Comments of the Internet Freedom Coalition

Just two days prior to the Commission’s deadline for reply comments regarding the above Notice of Proposed Rulemakings, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in Comcast v. FCC that the Commission has no authority to enact Net Neutrality rules.  The deadline for comments was extended, particularly to facilitate discussion of other methods of promulgating Net Neutrality regulations.

 Beginning with comments on the National Broadband Plan filed by Public Knowledge in January, a small number of organizations have since proposed classifying the Internet as a Title II common carrier service as a way of asserting the Commission’s authority to enact Net Neutrality regulations.  The Internet Freedom Coalition respectfully submits these reply comments in strong opposition to any effort to reclassify the Internet as a Title II service.

Read More…

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