Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Net Neutrality’
October 27th, 2014 at 10:22 am
Title II Reclassification: Not Just Unwise, But Also Illegal
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Those of us who oppose the Obama Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) effort to bridle the Internet  with so-called “net neutrality” regulation have explained at length why reclassifying the Internet as some sort of 1930s-style public utility under Title II is a dangerous idea.

Perhaps we we haven’t devoted appropriate time, however, to explaining why it’s almost certainly illegal.

As a broader policy matter, the vague and muddled calls from the extremist left to reclassify broadband typically don’t extend beyond an emotional demand for federal bureaucrats at the FCC to “do something.”  Or, as we often put it, they seek to impose a “fix” for an Internet that isn’t at all “broken.”  Accordingly, they go about offering substantive policy proposals as if lunching at a salad bar stocked with bad ingredients.  They pick and choose bad items, assembling what they consider a perfect combination.

But what they instead create is a Frankenstein-like monstrosity.

And in terms of legality more specifically, the FCC would be treading onto extremely unstable ground if it opts to follow the demands of far-left activists by rushing headlong into this dubious Title II reclassification proposal.  The fact of the matter is that the FCC has long contended that the Internet is a Title I service.  Therefore, in order to reclassify, the law requires it to meet a higher burden of proof as to why it got the initial classification wrong.  Hysterical activism from the far left that has tended to characterize this debate won’t suffice, whether as a matter of law or a matter of logic.  The FCC has already twice lost this legal battle in court (first in 2010, and again in 2014).  Rather than stubbornly tempt a third judicial rebuke of its effort to impose “net neutrality,” it would be better to learn its lesson as it proceeds with its rulemaking effort.

And that’s only with regard to traditional wired networks.  When it comes to wireless Internet (like the 4G/LTE smartphone technology), the law actually expressly prohibits the FCC from imposing Title II-type rules.  That clarity may not discourage the net-roots fringe from demanding reclassification, but it most certainly should stop the FCC from exceeding its legal mandate and once again blatantly flouting both the letter and spirit of applicable law.

Despite six years of effort to the contrary from the Obama Administration, we remain a nation of laws, not men.  That timeless principle does not yield to extremists’ pursuit of the “net neutrality” unicorn.

To date, and through previous administrations of both parties over the past two decades, the FCC has avoided attempting to classify Internet service under Title II for good reason:  it is bad policy and bad law.  Everyone except those clinging to an ideologically extreme position on the matter have recognized that reality.  We therefore cannot allow such Title II extremists to suddenly divert us from the “light touch” regulatory course that has made the Internet one of the most beneficial and revolutionary innovations in human history.  There’s too much to lose.

August 15th, 2014 at 7:22 am
Podcast – Net Neutrality: A Solution in Search of a Problem
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Mike Wendy, director of Media Freedom, discusses how so-called “Net Neutrality” is a solution in search of a problem and why heavy-handed government regulations are not good for consumers or investment.

Listen to the interview here.

June 13th, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Podcast: The Gov’t Should Keep Its Regulatory Hands Off the Internet
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, discusses net neutrality and the misguided push to have the federal government regulate the Internet.

Listen to the interview here.

May 30th, 2014 at 9:37 am
Take Action to Stop Net Regulation

President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC), bowing to the demands of liberal special interests, is actually considering a scheme to regulate the Internet like a public utility. And if they get their way, this egregious government overreach into the broadband economy will almost certainly kill job creation, harm consumers and bring a significant amount of investment and innovation to a screeching halt.

Simply put, the federal government micromanaging the Internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is a dangerous scheme, one that Congress must halt and the FCC must abandon. That’s why the Center for Individual Freedom this week activated StopNetRegulation.org, a project dedicated to ensuring the Internet remains free from heavy-handed government regulations and stopping this latest power grab by the Obama administration.

Join the fight by visiting StopNetRegulation.org.  While there, use the web form to quickly and easily contact your Members of Congress and the FCC.

February 21st, 2014 at 11:09 am
CFIF TechNotes
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The tech policy arena in recent days has understandably been dominated by two issues in the news – the proposed Comcast/Time-Warner Cable merger and the refusal of Net “Neutrality” proponents to allow that pernicious campaign to finally die a justified death.

Regarding the Comcast/Time-Warner  Cable merger, the Heritage Foundation’s James Gattuso offers one of the better primers.  He rightly criticizes the anti-merger hyperbole, and notes that the agreement is actually a sign of increased competition, not diminishing competition:

To begin with, these companies do not compete with each other.  Comcast and Time-Warner Cable (not to be confused with Time-Warner, the media firm from which TWC was hived off in 2009) operate in geographically distinct cable TV franchises around the country.  They do not overlap.

Moreover, while they are the largest and second-largest cable TV firms nationally, that metric is largely meaningless.  The paid television marketplace includes many other competitors, ranging from telecommunications firms such as Verizon and AT&T to satellite providers such as DIRECTV, to a growing band of Internet TV providers such as Netflix and Apple TV.  It’s a diverse marketplace, in which Comcast and TWC together serve barely 30 percent of subscribers. (In fact, Comcast has pledged to divest cable systems to keep the share below that figure). “

The Wall Street Journal provided the same reassurance, confirming that “a merged Comcast and TWC still has plenty of competition”:

[U]nlike the markets for beer, air travel and wireless, cable companies don’t compete with each other.  They have local franchises and compete against telephone, wireless and satellite companies.  So there’s no market overlap between systems owned by Comcast and those of Time Warner Cable.  Comcast, which is dominant in Philadelphia, will get millions of new customers in New York and Los Angeles.  But how can dominance in one geographic region give Comcast new pricing power in a different area?”

And the following day, the  Journal’s Holman Jenkins takes a nice swipe at the toxic un-dead specter of Net “Neutrality” as it relates to the proposed merger:

But standing in the way is the tired concept of ‘net neutrality,’ beloved by regulators and mau-mau groups but never enacted by Congress and frequently questioned by the courts. Yet now, thanks to America’s deranged merger approval process, Time Warner and Comcast risk having just such rules imposed on them (and no one else) as extortion for regulators approving their deal.”

With federal overregulation already exacerbating what has been the most sluggish economic recovery in recorded U.S. history, and with the American public listing big government as the nation’s foremost threat, the bottom line is that bureaucratic interference via Net “Neutrality” or in the private proposed merger of Comcast and Time-Warner remains a bad idea.

On a different and more optimistic note to end the week, however, Notre Dame philosophy professor Don Howard and the Manhattan Institute’s Mark Mills anticipate the upcoming arrival of self-driving automobiles, so long as overactive government regulators referenced above don’t spoil the party:

The self-driving-car solution is clear.  Congress should pre-empt Nhtsa and the trial lawyers and pass a National Autonomous Vehicle Injury Act.  The Fords and Nissans and Googles and Qualcomms should voluntarily create an Autonomous Vehicle Event Reporting System.  And industry players should also create a National Autonomous Vehicle Compensation System.  (Vaccine compensation is funded with a de minimis tax on each dose.)  Last November, Nhtsa Administrator David Strickland told Congress that ‘in addition to the devastation” that “crashes cause to families, the economic costs to society reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars.  Automated vehicles can potentially help reduce these numbers significantly.’

That potential has already been realized, whether regulators understand it or not.  If the human toll from highway accidents were a disease and we knew there was a cure, it would be immoral not to marshal every corner of government and industry to deploy it.”

So allow the private sector to move forward, whether through voluntary mergers or technological innovation, beyond the interference of overzealous government regulators.  What a novel concept.

December 16th, 2011 at 7:17 am
Podcast: Why the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” Regulations Must Be Rejected
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Thomas W. Hazlett, professor of law and economics at George Mason University and former chief economist of the FCC, discusses the ramifications of the recent Senate vote to reject an attempt to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules and his recent Encounter Books Broadside titled, “The Fallacy of Net Neutrality.”

Listen to the interview here.

November 10th, 2011 at 2:01 pm
Net Neutrality Escapes from Senate Unharmed, Despite Rubio’s Eloquence
Posted by Troy Senik Print

If you need another reason to hope for a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate next fall, here you go: a resolution to overturn net neutrality — the Obama Administration’s attempt at a government takeover of the internet — failed today in the upper chamber by a narrow vote of 52-46 (it had previously passed in the House, 240-179).

Of the Republicans who fought the good fight, none put the issue in as sharp relief as Florida freshman Marco Rubio. This a man who gets the bigger picture, as the Daily Caller reports:

“The FCC and the federal government cannot keep pace with the Internet and the technology industries, and the government should not attempt to catch up through regulation or legislation,” said Rubio.

“And that’s an important point. We are asking this government, we are asking this bureaucratic structure which struggles to keep pace with issues we have been facing for the last 20 years, to somehow keep pace with issues and the technology and the innovations that arrive in the Internet world. Not only do I think that is asking too much, I think it’s impossible.” 

Rubio is right on the money, sounding the same cautionary note that CFIF’s Timothy H. Lee has repeatedly emphasized. America has had no more dynamic sector of the economy in the last two decades than the internet, a development that would have been impossible without a relatively light hand from the federal government. If Washington gets in the driver’s seat, we should expect the same results that have characterized government involvement in everything from health care to postal service to education: lower quality at higher prices with less convenience. It’s a Wi-Fi world and we’re handing off the internet to a dial-up government.

August 29th, 2011 at 1:28 pm
Irony: Gallup Poll Shows Tech Industry Rated Highest, Federal Gov’t That Keeps Regulating It Rated Lowest
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

According to a new poll from Gallup, Americans rate the “Computer Industry” most positively among 25 business and government entities, with the “Internet Industry” close behind.  That’s no surprise – few innovations in human history have transformed our lives as rapidly and profoundly as the tech sector.

But here’s an irony.  The federal government, which constantly interferes with tech sector innovation via such bureaucratic assaults as so-called “Net Neutrality” and interference with the private proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, is rated least favorably by Americans.  Only 17% of Americans rate the federal government positively, which 63% rate it negatively.  In contrast, the computer industry is rated positively by a 72% to 10% margin, and the Internet industry is rated positively by a 56% to 16% ratio.

Perhaps we’d all be better off if the tech sector began monitoring the federal government, rather than the converse.  It certainly appears that most Americans would agree.

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.

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.

April 1st, 2011 at 9:48 am
Video: The Case for Conservative Optimism
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s “Freedom Minute,” CFIF’s Renee Giachino makes the case for conservative optimism.  Giachino points to the continued public backlash against ObamaCare, the growing movement against government excess, and widespread opposition to Cap-and-Trade and Net Neutrality, among other big government regulations, as evidence that the nation is committed to restoring to America’s founding limited-government principles.

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 18th, 2011 at 5:36 pm
Obama’s WSJ Op/Ed: Change of Heart, or Just More Political Deception?
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

The nation’s capital is abuzz today over President Obama’s Wall Street Journal commentary, “Toward a 21st Century Regulatory System.” Astonishingly, Obama actually praises America’s free market system as “the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known” while promising regulatory reform:

I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government.  This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth.  And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.  It’s a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades.”

Whether Obama speaks honestly, or simply seeks to deceive the electorate in anticipation of 2012, lies beyond our powers of divination.  The available evidence, however, justifies extreme skepticism.

One cause for doubt stands out immediately.  In identifying examples of the federal regulatory state run amok, the best Obama can do is point to saccharine, saying that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits it for consumption in coffee while his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labels it a “dangerous chemical.”  That’s it?  That’s the best example he can cite?

Just one month ago, Obama’s own Federal Communications Commission (FCC) flagrantly defied two-to-one public opposition, a unanimous Court of Appeals and a bipartisan group of 300 members of Congress by voting to regulate the Internet via “Net Neutrality.” Obama claims in his column that he aims to prevent “regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive,” but that’s exactly what “Net Neutrality” will do.  The FCC seeks to regulate an Internet sector that has thrived over the past two decades precisely because the federal government has refrained from interfering with regulations such as this.  The result will be fewer incentives for continued Internet investment, expansion and innovation, as well as declining service as capacity fails to keep pace with demand.

Additionally, Obama’s Labor Department seeks to impose “card check,” which will end secret ballot voting in union elections, and his EPA seeks to impose global warming carbon cap-and-tax regulations.  Both of those agenda items failed miserably in Congress even when controlled by Democratic supermajorities, but Obama’s regulatory agencies now seek to impose them anyway.

So Obama talks a good game in today’s op/ed.  But unless he issues an immediate cease-and-desist order on “Net Neutrality,” card check and cap-and-tax, his words will prove just as meaningless as his other broken promises.

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.