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Testing the FCC’s Net Neutrality Political Calculus

January 29, 2015

Scott Cleland

Net Competition

A bird in the hand is still worth two in the bush.

This age old wisdom has survived to warn against human nature — to be overly confident of keeping what one has while risking everything when grasping for much more.

Currently the FCC and congressional Democrats are rejecting the proverbial “bird in the hand,” i.e. proposed net neutrality legislation that would provide the FCC with the legal authority it has sought for seven years, in order to go for the “two birds in the bush,” or maximal perceived authority via unilaterally reclassifying the Internet as a Title II telephone utility.

Such action could result in the FCC losing everything in court or in a change of administration.

Consider the very valuable “bird in the hand” that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune have offered the FCC and congressional Democrats. Read More…

On Net Neutrality: Title II Regulation Means Higher Taxes On Consumers

January 27, 2015

Jamal Simmons


Congress is diving into the Open Internet debate with hearings last week on new net neutrality bills in the House and the Senate. Intense controversy over the benefits and downsides of turning broadband service into a public utility drags on, underscoring the need for a legislative solution. Many people advance claims on the impact of net neutrality to consumers, but now there are real numbers to discuss—numbers that make it clear that the President’s plan of imposing public utility-like Title II regulation on the Internet would lead to holes in family budgets.

A recent study by Progressive Policy Institute economists Robert Litan and Hal Singer is the first significant effort to quantify how much it could potentially cost consumers if broadband services are reclassified as “telecommunications services” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. By regulating broadband service under Title II, the Federal Communications Commission would essentially be required to treat this service under the same rules as the old telephone mono Read More…

The FCC’s De-Americanization of the Internet

January 26, 2015

Scott Cleland

The Daily Caller

The world is watching.

The world knows America invented and developed today’s global Internet.

Governments around the world also know that America persuaded most all of them to adopt America’s Internet model, specifically not regulating their Internet like they previously regulated their telephone networks.

Now the governments of the world are watching to see if the FCC officially votes to de-Americanize the Internet with a U-turn change in American Internet policy by regulating America’s Internet like a telephone utility network.

That’s because in November President Obama publicly urged the FCC to legally reclassify the Internet from a non-price regulated information service to a utility, price-regulated, telecommunications service using the “strongest possible rules.” Read More…

GOP lawmakers demand FCC make proposed Internet regs public

January 23, 2015

Julian Hattem

The Hill

Leaders in Congress want the public to see new net neutrality regulations before they become law.

Currently, people aren’t expected to see the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new regulations for Internet service providers such as Comcast until the agency’s five commissioners vote on them on Feb. 26.

That’s concerning for Republicans leaders of the House and Senate Commerce committees, especially since the regulations are expected to exert bold authority over the Web by reclassifying Internet service to treat it like a utility. Read More…

FCC urged to pause on Internet rules

January 22, 2015

Mario Trujillo

The Hill

The Federal Communications Commission would be smart to pause its work on open Internet rules now that Congress has actively joined the fight, GOP commissioner Michael O’Rielly said in a speech Wednesday.

O’Rielly, who worked on Capitol Hill for years before joining the commission, said there is no need to rush the rules, which he and the other Republican commissioner on the FCC are expected to oppose.

“Congress is actively working toward a legislative solution to net neutrality, with hearings taking place today on new bills in the House and the Senate,” he said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. Read More…

Do we need government regulations to preserve net neutrality?

January 28, 2015

Roslyn Layton

American Enterprise Institute

Net neutrality sounds good, but it means different things to different people, making it easy for special interests to manipulate it for narrow political ends.

One definition of net neutrality is a user’s freedom to connect to any Internet content, application or service. This is uncontroversial, and Internet providers already agree to uphold this principle.

Using their own definitions, however, companies such as Netflix hijack the language of net neutrality to lobby for regulatory favors. They want the government to mandate that transit costs they pay for today become free. In the offline world, such a deal would mean that retailers could not negotiate agreements with their suppliers or even where products could be placed on shelves.

This campaign intensified when Presi Read More…

How to fix the Internet

January 27, 2015

Tom Giovanetti

Institute for Policy Innovation

The Obama administration has certainly racked up an impressive string of successes. At last the Middle East is stabilized, and the threat of terrorism has been extinguished. The economy is growing robustly, foreign companies are reincorporating in the United States to take advantage of our more hospitable tax and regulatory structures, and everyone who is able to work has a wide choice of rewarding employment options. The national savings rate is up, the budget is balanced, and we’ve actually begun to pay down the national debt.

And now the Obama administration is turning its attention to one of our few remaining problems: solving the puzzle of why the Internet has been such a massive disappointment.

By now it’s obvious that the Internet simply hasn’t lived up to its potential. The Internet was supposed to create new opportunities for Americans to build communities with one another and, indeed, with the world. It was going to give us access to formerly inaccessible sources of information and knowledge and facilitate collaboration among scientists, researchers, and creators. Read More…

Government regulations getting out of control

January 27, 2015

Diane Katz and James Gattuso

The Heritage Foundation

To say that Americans have a regulation problem is putting it lightly.

For instance, the government is now setting the serving size of breath mints and demanding 12-point type on clothing labels. It prohibits dog walkers from strolling with more than four pooches, and requires cat food manufacturers to list calories in “kilocalories per kilogram.”

The feds also restrict the amount of water per flush (for toilets and urinals) and limit the electricity that may be used to power the oven clock. And, of course, Washington now prescribes the type of health insurance we all must buy.

These rules are not anomalies in an otherwise rational regulatory system. Indeed, never before has the federal government exerted such control over virtually every aspect of our lives, including our yard sales, light bulbs, TV volume, telephone rates, toothbrushes, furniture, linen, and the size of the holes in Swiss cheese (Grade A must be to 13/16 inches in diameter). Read More…

NetCompetition on FCC Publicly Sharing its Proposed Open Internet Order

January 26, 2015

Scott Cleland

Precursor Blog

FCC Should Lead by Example and Be Publicly Open & Transparent about its Internet Proposal

Why Block or Throttle Public Openness & Transparency in a FCC Open Internet Order Vote?

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

  • “The FCC’s congressional overseers are right and wise to ask the FCC to make their proposed Open Internet Order available to the public three weeks prior to their scheduled February 26thvote. Simply, public transparency begets public legitimacy.”

Title II Regulations Would Negatively Impact Jobs

January 23, 2015

Michael J. Horney

The Free State Foundation

Last week, Will Rinehart released a report entitled “Title II Reclassification Negatively Impacts Jobs and Investment.” This report provides additional evidence regarding the impact of Title II regulations on employment to a Perspectives from FSF Scholars that I wrote in December 2014 entitled “Title II Would Not Just Harm Consumers, It Would Harm Workers Too.”Rinehart used investment data from a paper by Kevin Hassett and Robert Shapiro entitled “The Impact of Title II Regulation of Internet Providers On Their Capital Investments,” which I blogged about here. Among many of the Hassett and Shapiro’s findings, one was that Title II regulations would decrease investment by $11.8 billion in 2019, the final year of their estimation. 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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