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Posts Tagged ‘Federal Communications Commission’
June 11th, 2012 at 1:59 pm
Coalition to FCC: Approve Verizon/SpectrumCo Deal Now

In a letter delivered on Friday, a coalition of 14 free market organizations, including the Center for Individual Freedom (”CFIF”), urged the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) to approve a private deal between Verizon and cable companies that will free currently unused spectrum to help alleviate the growing “spectrum crunch” that many wireless consumers – particularly those in densely populated areas of the country – are already feeling.

The letter, which was organized by ATR’s Digital Liberty, reads in part:

Demand for wireless broadband is more than doubling annually, but vast swaths of valuable spectrum – the lifeblood of mobile communications – remain unavailable to wireless carriers. Consumers in densely populated urban areas are already suffering from inadequate wireless capacity. While meeting this robust demand will require wireless carriers to adopt an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach, increasing spectrum availability is unquestionably the most fundamental and cost-effective means to meet wireless demand.

Unfortunately, spectrum auctions that will enable wireless carriers to bid on additional spectrum remain years away. Verizon Wireless’s proposed transfer presents a rare and crucial opportunity to deploy currently unused spectrum for wireless broadband. The spectrum at issue is ideally situated in the 1700/2100 MHz AWS bands, covering over 80 percent of the U.S. population (259 million POPs). Consumers will see substantial net benefits from expanded coverage enabled by additional spectrum, especially compared to more costly and time-consuming undertakings such as cell splitting.

With demand for wireless broadband more than doubling annually, the FCC’s own estimates predict that demand for wireless spectrum will exceed supply in 2013.  Yet Obama’s FCC has done little if anything at all to make additional and much-needed spectrum available to wireless network operators. 

In fact, under the Obama Administration the FCC has worked to delay and outright block private-sector deals to alleviate the growing spectrum crunch.  Last year, the FCC took unprecedented steps to block the then-pending AT&T-T-Mobile merger, going so far as to publicly release a biased draft staff report in opposition to the merger that the commissioners themselves never approved and quite  possibly didn’t even read.  Had that merger been approved, AT&T was promising to deploy high-speed mobile broadband to 95 percent of all Americans.  And the FCC has been over-scrutinizing and slow-walking approval of the Verizon-SpectrumCo deal since December.

Read the full coalition letter to the FCC here.

April 13th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
T-Mobile, Victim of Abusive FCC Last Year, Now Asks FCC to Cripple a Market Competitor
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Just months ago, T-Mobile became another unjustified casualty of the arbitrary and capricious Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  It was bad enough that the FCC curiously opposed T-Mobile’s proposed merger with AT&T, which would have upgraded wireless service for tens of millions of American consumers and created thousands of new jobs.  Compounding that injustice, however, the FCC committed the unprecedented transgression of releasing a confidential staff report that inaccurately maligned the proposed merger’s justifications.

Sadly, T-Mobile now seeks to employ that same FCC as a bureaucratic bludgeon to cripple a market competitor, by asking it to block a private spectrum purchase by Verizon Wireless.   Whereas T-Mobile announced a few months ago that, “The U.S. wireless industry will remain fiercely competitive”  by allowing acquisition of 50 MHz of T-Mobile’s spectrum as part of the AT&T deal, it now claims that Verizon’s proposed acquisition of 20 MHz of unused spectrum will somehow “unduly tip the scales” in Verizon’s favor.  Moreover, T-Mobile itself seeks to acquire 20 MHz of spectrum, which it claims is in the public interest and “seeks only to assign spectrum licenses and no other assets.”

CFIF supported T-Mobile’s right to enter into a bargained-for exchange between private parties during its proposed merger with AT&T, which the FCC and Obama Justice Department improperly blocked.  But by the same token, it should not turn around and attempt to interfere with other parties’ market transactions.  T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom, the world’s fourth-largest telecommunications company, which itself is partly owned by the German government.  So it’s not exactly David fighting Goliath, unable to contend in the marketplace without exploiting the FCC as some sort of protective big brother.

Verizon Wireless merely seeks to purchase unused spectrum, which will bring desperately-needed wireless service improvements for U.S. consumers.  That’s none of T-Mobile’s business, and the FCC is not some sort of instrument to be used as a competitive weapon.

January 26th, 2012 at 6:31 pm
Time to Rein In FCC’s Regulatory Overreach

For the past three years, those of us who eat, sleep and breathe the principles of limited government and free enterprise have been banging our heads against the wall because of the devastating and rampant overreach of executive departments and agencies in the Obama Administration.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)… the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)… the Department of Justice (DOJ)… Enough said.

But perhaps there has been no agency more guilty of abusing its power and imposing its regulatory overreach than the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  After all, it is the FCC that unilaterally – by a 3-2 party-line vote – imposed so-called “Net Neutrality” regulations against a bipartisan majority in Congress, a unanimous federal court of appeals and 2-1 public opinion.  It is the FCC that, despite acknowledging a national spectrum crisis as more and more consumers use smart phones and tablet computers, continually works to block any and all productive efforts to relieve said crisis.

So it was refreshing to read earlier today that AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson is calling out the FCC’s overreach, charging that the Commission is “intent on picking winners and losers rather than letting these markets work.” 

For too long the FCC has interfered with the free market, which has created an unlevel playing field that unfairly props up politically-favored companies less likely to invest their own capital in new job-creating and economy-enhancing infrastructure at the expense of others that will. 

And, that’s precisely why Congress must act, not only to refrain from granting the FCC’s request for additional flexibility on spectrum auction authority, but also to tighten the reins on the FCC in order to prevent it from further skewing the wireless market. 

Instead of permitting the FCC to, by definition, pick “winners and losers” in the wireless marketplace by unfairly limiting and excluding certain companies from participating in spectrum auctions, Congress must pass legislation that that will facilitate the proper and fair functioning of spectrum auctions that are open to all willing buyers. 

That the FCC thinks otherwise, coupled with its recent history of abusive regulatory overreach, should spark a long overdue and serious discussion about clearly defining its proper authority once and for all.

June 15th, 2011 at 4:59 pm
“Net Neutrality” At Six Months – FCC Still Hasn’t Published Order in Federal Registry
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Six months ago this coming Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its Chairman Julius Genachowski – Barack Obama’s old comrade and Harvard Law School classmate – hastily imposed the infamous and deceptively-named “Net Neutrality” regulations.  Just days before Christmas and fresh off the Administration’s effective takeover of the automobile, banking and healthcare sectors, Genachowski and his two fellow Democrat Commissioners rammed those regulations through against the wishes of (1) a solid majority of Americans, (2) a rare bipartisan Congressional majority and (3) a unanimous U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which declared the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” effort illegal mere months earlier.

The FCC’s maneuver move marked the first time in history that the federal government appointed itself authority to micromanage how Internet service providers operating in the ostensibly free market could and could not operate their own private networks.  Never mind, of course, the years and hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment required to build out and maintain those private networks – desperately-needed investment that continues to create rapid innovation and well-paying jobs.

The FCC’s illegal and unwise “Net Neutrality” regulations immediately jeopardized those billions of investment dollars, and will continue to do so should they somehow withstand judicial scrutiny.

Now, making things even worse, as the bare one-person Democratic majority moves full speed ahead with unnecessary and counterproductive Internet regulations on both wired and wireless Internet networks, Chairman Genachowski appears to be playing games by dragging his feet in order to obstruct the lawsuits and legislation to repeal the FCC’s unauthorized “Net Neutrality” rules.  Specifically, Chairman Genachowski appears to be delaying the publication of the FCC’s order in the Federal Registry to go forum-shopping and avoid the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where the FCC lost last year and will likely lose again.

Thus, just like Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the FCC has become a rogue government agency willing to act beyond its statutory authority to commandeer both the wired and wireless Internet.  As our economy and employment market continue to struggle, now is the time for us to stop the Obama FCC’s rogue effort via the courts and Congress.

June 10th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
California Tries to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Deal

Those wacky California bureaucrats are at it again!  Reporting by the Wall Street Journal says that Golden State regulators “moved ahead Thursday with an investigation into AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA, raising a fresh hurdle for the U.S. wireless giant as it seeks the government’s blessing to acquire its third-largest competitor.”

The report goes on to explain that AT&T doesn’t need California’s blessing, only a green light from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Nonetheless, California’s objection could “carry weight” with the FCC’s board of governors, potentially scuttling the merger.  Not bad for a group of regulators with zero jurisdiction over the matter.

With California staring at a multi-billion dollar deficit, perhaps this is the kind of government agency whose funding should be cut – or eliminated.

April 11th, 2011 at 2:29 pm
Quote of the Day from WSJ’s L. Gordon Crovitz
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Quote of the day from The Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz, writing in his weekly “Information Age” column:

In high-tech, by the time the political and legal systems catch up to an issue, the issue is moot.”

Whether anti-trust, so-called “Net Neutrality,” public broadband endeavors, wireless data roaming mandates or anything else, you can always count on bureaucrats to be a day late and a dollar short.  Are you paying attention, FCC?

April 7th, 2011 at 4:18 pm
The FCC’s Wireless Data Roaming Mandates Are Illegal, Unwise
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

One would think the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had learned its lesson by now.

In the past calendar year, the FCC’s extralegal power grabs have brought judicial rebuke from a unanimous Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, widespread public opposition and rare bipartisan Congressional condemnation.  But instead of internalizing those lessons, the FCC has once again endeavored beyond its legal authority by voting to impose data roaming mandates on private wireless carriers.  In a correspondence to the FCC, CFIF set forth the ways in which its latest rogue action is not only without legal foundation, but also unwise as a matter of public policy.

First, Section 332 of the Communications Act explicitly states that private mobile service providers “shall not be treated as a common carrier for any purpose under this Act.”  By  requiring wireless providers to forcibly enter agreements with other wireless carriers and allow non-customers to roam on their data networks, the FCC has violated that express provision. 

Second, a vibrant market for data roaming agreements already exists, meaning that this FCC action is unnecessary.  Carriers large and small already engage in very high rates of partnership, including Rural Cellular Association (RCA) members.  These agreements cover 3G and even 4G networks, contrary to extremists’ claims.  Indeed, numerous smaller carriers currently advertise nationwide broadband data coverage despite possessing relatively narrow license areas, meaning that they already have secured data roaming agreements.  Further, the prices negotiated in roaming agreements continue to decline. 

Third, the FCC’s bureaucratic intrusion into this realm will have the perverse effect of discouraging new investment and job creation in this cutting-edge sector.  After all, the FCC’s mandates will create incentives to piggyback on other networks rather than invest in new ones.  Carriers must be able to differentiate themselves and compete against counterpart carriers in the free market, which the FCC’s proposed mandates will undercut.  As data use continues to increase and smart phones impose new demands on network capacity, the inevitable result will be congestion, delay, fewer jobs and less investment.

Today’s FCC vote thus exceeds its legal authority and undermines new investment, while ignoring the fact that data roaming agreements are already prevalent.  It merely provides the latest evidence that the rogue FCC must be brought back to Earth, whether via Congress or the courts.

March 16th, 2011 at 3:49 pm
New Congress Deals Big-Government “Net Neutrality” Another Blow
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Yesterday, the new House of Representatives took another step to make good on its campaign promises last fall to the American people.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee, by a 30 to 23 vote, approved a resolution prohibiting Obama’s rogue Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from imposing so-called “Net Neutrality” on the nation’s Internet sector. This follows last week’s 15-8 vote by the Communications and Technology Subcommittee on the same issue. The FCC doesn’t possess the legal authority to regulate the Internet via “Net Neutrality” in the first instance, as a unanimous court of appeals ruled last year.  Further, Americans oppose this sort of Internet regulation by a solid two-to-one margin, and a rare bipartisan majority of 300 from Congress has formally instructed the FCC against pursuing this lawless course.  Ignoring all of that, the FCC rammed through “Net Neutrality” by a partisan 3-2 vote in December.

Big-government activists claim that “Net Neutrality” is somehow necessary to prevent Internet service providers, who invest the tens of billions of dollars necessary to create the networks on which the Internet passes, from blocking various websites or maliciously discriminating in Internet traffic.  But they cannot explain why that hypothetical epidemic of blockage has never occurred despite two decades of explosive Internet growth in our lives.  And with good reason – any service provider that did so would quickly find itself out of business due to irate customers.  But never mind that.  What are facts, after all, against the desire to add yet another sector of the American economy to the Obama Administration’s regulation?

Fortunately, Americans know better.  And just as fortunately, Congress and the courts are doing something about it.

March 9th, 2011 at 5:01 pm
House Subcommittee Votes 15-8 to Overturn FCC’s “Net Neutrality”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we predicted from the start, so-called “Net Neutrality” continues down its path toward inevitable defeat.

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee voted by a lopsided 15-8 margin to overturn the rogue effort by Obama’s FCC to add the Internet to the Administration’s laundry list of commandeered industries.  The American public opposes “Net Neutrality” Internet regulation by two-to-one margins, a court of appeals unanimously ruled it beyond the FCC’s proper authority and a bipartisan group of 300 members of Congress instructed the FCC to refrain from this abusive effort.  Despite those realities, the FCC arrogantly voted in December to impose “Net Neutrality,” just as the Obama Administration seeks to impose card check, carbon cap-and-tax and other unpopular schemes via unaccountable and unelected federal agencies.

Today’s resolution will now proceed to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, and a similar legislative effort to overturn “Net Neutrality” is underway in the Senate.  Meanwhile, a lawsuit proceeds in the same court that last year overturned “Net Neutrality,” meaning that the only question now is whether this ill-advised bureaucratic overreach will meet its end legislatively or judicially.  Either way, it can’t come soon enough for investors in our nation’s critical Internet sector.

February 17th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
House, Senate Introduce Resolution to Repeal “Net Neutrality”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Two months ago, when Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed its “Net Neutrality” proposal by a partisan 3-2 margin, we guaranteed that it would inevitably be defeated via legislation, the courts or both.

Sure enough, last month Verizon Communications challenged the FCC’s rogue vote in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the same court that unanimously ruled last April that the FCC doesn’t possess lawful authority to impose Net “Neutrality.”  Now this week, both the House and Senate introduced resolutions to repeal the FCC’s rogue action.  The resolutions were introduced pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to review and overrule federal agency regulations via simple majority.  Importantly, such resolutions are not subject to normal Senate filibuster hurdles.

“Net Neutrality” constitutes a destructive and illegal federal intrusion into the Internet, which has managed to flourish just fine over the past two decades without Obama Administration micromanagement, thank you very much.  The American public opposes it by a 2-to-1 margin, courts have rejected it unanimously and Congressional opposition is bipartisan.  While “Net Neutrality’s” demise is a matter of when, not if, it is still absolutely critical that we as citizens maintain our resolve to spare the Internet sector from becoming bureaucrats’ tech version of ObamaCare.

January 21st, 2011 at 10:46 am
Verizon Challenges Net “Neutrality” – Obama’s FCC Picked a Fight, and It Got One
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Last month, President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted by a partisan 3-2 margin to regulate Internet service via Net “Neutrality.”  On that date, we predicted,”The FCC’s reckless effort to regulate Internet traffic will now begin a slow death march to ultimate defeat from legal challenges and Congressional action.”

Exactly one month later, the judicial front in that battle is underway.

Yesterday, Verizon Communications challenged the FCC’s rogue vote in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  That’s the same court that unanimously ruled last April that the FCC doesn’t possess lawful authority to impose Net “Neutrality,” but the FCC defiantly pressed ahead despite that unequivocal ruling.  In so doing, the FCC also defied 2-to-1 public opposition and a bipartisan group of 300 from Congress.  Obama took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal this week to profess a new commitment to regulatory restraint in pursuit of a healthier economy, job creation and more humble federal government.  But his own FCC belies that supposed commitment with its Net “Neutrality” agenda.

Leaders of the new 112th Congress have also committed to overturning the FCC’s destructive attempt to regulate Internet service.  Whether the demise of Net “Neutrality” comes legislatively or judicially, it can’t come soon enough for American consumers, investors and employers.

January 5th, 2011 at 9:02 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Big Government’s Net Neutrality Foot in the Door
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Just prior to the Christmas holiday, the FCC on a 3-2 party line vote approved so-called “Net Neutrality” regulations on the Internet.  It did so in the face of overwhelming opposition by the American people, a bipartisan majority in Congress and in defiance of a ruling by the federal courts.  

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez on the issue.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 3rd, 2011 at 11:51 am
New Year’s Resolution for FCC from WSJ’s Crovitz: Focus on Competition, Not Regulations
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz just puts on a clinic on tech policy each Monday with his weekly “Information Age” column.  Today is no exception.  Entitled “Tech Resolutions for the New Year,” Crovitz directs his first resolution toward Chairman Julius Genachowski and the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that has again defied public opinion, a unanimous D.C. Court of Appeals and a bipartisan Congressional majority with last month’s “Net Neutrality” resolution:

For Julius Genachowski, FCC Chairman:  Focus on competition, not regulations, lobbyists and lawyers.  By a partisan 3-2 vote, the Agency just before the holidays issued a plan to regulate the Internet.  The claim is ‘net neutrality,’ but throughout the 194-page order the reality is vague standards such as ‘reasonableness.’  This uncertainty creates a ‘regulator-may-I?’ approach to innovation and ensures years of litigation for a vital industry that evolved freely.  The real problem remains a lack of broadband competition, caused by government grants of monopolies and duopolies.  As open source guru Lawrence Lessig recently argued in Newsweek, the FCC should be replaced with regulators whose mission is ‘minimal intervention to maximize innovation.’”

Good advice.  Crovitz’s weekly commentaries are a must-read – especially if your name is Julius Genachowski.

December 21st, 2010 at 1:16 pm
“Net Neutrality” – Obama’s FCC Moves to “Fix” What Isn’t Broken in Party-Line Vote
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

So let’s review:

The Internet revolution has brought us a level of innovation and prosperity unprecedented in human history.

Throughout two decades spanning both the Clinton and Bush administrations, deregulation has provided the fertile ground for private investment and productivity measured not in the billions, or even hundreds of billions, but in the trillions.

On that basis, the public opposes federal Internet regulation by a two-to-one margin.

Further, a unanimous D.C. Court of Appeals rejected Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to impose “Net Neutrality” just eight months ago.

Finally, a rare bipartisan coalition of 300 members of the House and Senate have admonished the FCC against its rogue “Net Neutrality” scheme.

So what does the unelected FCC do?  Learning nothing from the Administration’s ObamaCare fiasco, it moves full speed ahead with its hyperpartisan “Net Neutrality” agenda by a party-line 3-2 vote anyway.  As dissenting (i.e., sober) FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker summarizes, the FCC’s intervention threatens the future of the Internet:

The rules will give government, for the first time, a substantive role in how the Internet will be operated and managed, how broadband services will be priced and structured, and potentially how broadband networks will be financed.  By replacing market forces and technological solutions with bureaucratic oversight, we may see an Internet future not quite as bright as we need, with less investment, less innovation and more congestion.  Discouragingly, the FCC is intervening to regulate the Internet because it wants to, not because it needs to.”

The FCC’s reckless effort to regulate Internet traffic will now begin a slow death march to ultimate defeat from legal challenges and Congressional action.  In the meantime, unfortunately, the cost will be even more uncertainty at a time when our economy cannot afford it.

December 10th, 2010 at 10:24 am
FCC Recreates ObamaCare Fiasco with “Net Neutrality” Secrecy
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Remember how ObamaCare was furiously crafted behind locked doors, despite Obama’s assurances it would be “on C-Span?”  The public revolted against those tactics, but Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apparently thought it all went pretty well.  Look no further than its secrecy in concocting its latest “Net Neutrality” draft, despite FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski’s own promises of “transparency.”

In this way, “Net Neutrality” imitates ObamaCare beyond the broader fact that it seeks to commandeer 1/6 of the American economy.  Like ObamaCare, it is strongly opposed by the public and judicially suspect, and proponents know that exposing its manufacturing process to the sunlight would only help doom it.  Accordingly, Chairman Genachowski appears intent on concealing his “Net Neutrality” proposal as long as possible before dumping it on the public later this month.

Why all the secrecy?  What do Chairman Genachowski and “Net Neutrality” proponents fear so much?  Instead of secrecy, they should follow Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker’s call to immediately make the draft public.  Apply the same “openness” that you claim to desire for the Internet, Chairman Genachowski.

November 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 am
Obama’s FCC to Forcibly Impose “Net Neutrality” Internet Regulation?
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

By a two-to-one margin, Americans reject “Net Neutrality” Internet regulation efforts.  A unanimous Court of Appeals has rejected the FCC’s claim to authority to impose it.  Bipartisan groups of Congressional Democrats and Republicans have written letters to the FCC explicitly opposing it.

So how does Obama’s FCC react in the face of these unequivocal signals?  Apparently, by steering full-speed ahead to impose it anyway.

For those still unfamiliar with “Net Neutrality,” it is very simply a far-left effort to regulate Internet service.  Yes, the same Internet that has prospered to date and revolutionized our lives precisely because of the absence of big-government regulatory interference allegedly needs to be “fixed” by “Net Neutrality” regulation.  One need only consider the forces that favor “Net Neutrality” to recognize its destructiveness.  Chief among those activist forces is Free Press, whose founder Robert McChesney unapologetically advocated a government takeover of the Internet to something called the “Socialist Project“:

What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility.  We want an Internet where you don’t have to have a password, and that you don’t have to pay a penny to use.  It is your right to use the Internet.”

Simply put, “Net Neutrality” is ObamaCare for the Internet.  Please take a moment to contact your Representative and Senators to demand that they stop the rogue FCC from suffocating private Internet investment and innovation with its toxic “Net Neutrality” agenda.

September 23rd, 2010 at 5:10 pm
New Survey: Overwhelming Majority Pleased with Internet, Oppose Federal Regulation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today provided welcome re-confirmation that the American public isn’t buying “Net Neutrality” proponents’ campaign in favor of federal regulation of the Internet.  According to a new poll conducted by Hart Research Associates and reported by Broadband for America, a pleasantly surprising 75% of respondents state that “the Internet is currently working well.”  Moreover, fully 57% responded “no” when asked whether the federal government should regulate the Internet “at all,” and two-thirds of the 31% who would accept the idea of regulation would accept it only insofar as it related to privacy, online safety, or protecting children.  America isn’t being fooled by the big-government “Net Neutrality” agenda.

June 17th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
CFIF Criticizes FCC Ploy to Commandeer Internet Sector
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 along purely partisan lines today to commence federal government micro-regulation of Internet service.  In response, Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, issued the following statement

This spring, a unanimous D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC doesn’t possess authority to impose so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ over the Internet.  In a brazen ploy to circumvent the Court’s ruling, Chairman Genachowski and the FCC today began the process of classifying the Internet as a public utility under laws drafted for Depression-era landline telephones.  Their ultimate goal is to overregulate one of the few bright spots of the American economy. 

“The Internet sector has prospered over the past two decades precisely because the federal government has refrained from micromanaging it.  That ‘hands off’ policy spans both the Clinton and Bush administrations, during which time the Internet has become the most dynamic, innovative and promising sector of our economy and lives.

“That is why almost 250 members of Congress from both parties wrote the FCC admonishing it to refrain from unnecessary overregulation.  That’s why a unanimous D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC doesn’t possess authority to impose so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ over the Internet.  And, that’s why the American public opposes ‘Net Neutrality’ by a two-to-one margin. 

“Unfortunately, all that means nothing to Chairman Genachowski and those scheming to impose counterproductive and unnecessary regulations on the Internet by any means necessary. 

“The FCC’s destructive action will only create regulatory uncertainty, which will discourage private investment, Internet innovation, continued broadband expansion and job growth. 

“The Center for Individual Freedom now calls on all Americans to support H.R. 3924, sponsored Representative Marsha Blackburn (R–TN), which will ensure that Congress and the American people determine this matter, not unelected bureaucrats at the FCC.”

June 11th, 2010 at 8:27 am
Podcast: The FCC’s Unprecedented Attempt to Regulate the Internet

In an interview with CFIF, Americans for Prosperity Vice President Phil Kerpen discusses the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to circumvent a federal appeals court ruling and public opinion as it seeks to impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on the Internet. 

Listen to the interview here.

May 25th, 2010 at 11:14 am
Congress to FCC: Abandon Plans to Take Over the Internet

In an effort to circumvent a unanimous federal appeals court ruling, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced earlier this month that it will pursue a “third way” to obtain regulatory control over the Internet.  Specifically, lacking the straightforward authority to impose burdensome and unnecessary regulations on the World Wide Web, the FCC is now seeking “to shoehorn Internet service into regulations drafted in the 1930s for old-fashioned landline telephones” in an effort to dramatically expand its regulatory reach.

CFIF and others have written extensively about how such an unprecedented power grab threatens to suffocate private broadband investment, jobs and Internet innovation.  And, in a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress is now adding its voice of opposition, too.

In a letter sent yesterday to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, 74 Congressional Democrats expressed “serious concerns” about the FCC’s actions.  “The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying broadband service is not something that should be taken lightly and should not be done without additional direction from Congress,” the letter reads.  “We urge you not to move forward with a proposal that undermines critically important investment in broadband and the jobs that come with it.”

Also released yesterday was a similar letter to the FCC Chairman signed by 37 Senate Republicans.  The Senators wrote:

We are deeply disappointed by your recent announcement that you intend to reclassify broadband Internet access services as telecommunications services subject to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.  This move will deter further private sector investment in broadband networks, will negatively impact innovation, and ultimately harm consumers.  We strongly encourage you to abandon this drastic action, and to continue the successful policy of leaving the Internet free from common carrier regulations.”

The people have spoken.  The courts have spoken.  And now, a bipartisan and sizable group of elected officials in Congress have spoken.  Will Obama’s FCC finally listen?