Today, Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") Chairman Ajit Pai delivered a highly-anticipated speech entitled "The Future of Internet Regulation," setting forth his proposal to reverse radical internet regulations imposed by the Obama Administration FCC.
In response, Center for Individual Freedom ("CFIF") Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs Timothy Lee issued the following statement:
"Since the 1990s, the internet has flourished and transformed our lives like no other innovation on record. As Chairman Pai cogently stated in his remarks, 'The internet is the greatest free-market success story in history.' And that occurred because administrations spanning two decades and both political parties, beginning with Clinton/Gore, wisely chose a 'light touch' regulatory approach to the internet.
"Unfortunately, two years ago the Obama Administration's FCC radically reversed two decades of bipartisan consensus by needlessly reclassifying internet service as a 'public utility' under 1930s laws enacted for copper-wire telephone service. That reversal was not based upon evidence, law or logic. The internet wasn't 'broken' or in need of a heavy-handed federal regulatory 'fix.' Rather, it was a scheme to extend government control over yet another sector of our economy.
"The negative consequences of the FCC's reclassification of internet service as some sort of Depression-era 'public utility' were immediate and profound. As the Chairman noted, domestic broadband capital expenditures declined by 5.6%, or $3.6 billion, which marked the first time that such investment declined outside of a recession during the internet era. That applied to both large and small internet service providers.
"Proponents of heavy-handed internet regulation will now roll out their usual litany of scare tactics and hyperbole. Don't believe them. Chairman Pai is simply restoring the bipartisan light-touch regulatory status quo that existed for more than two decades.
“Simply put, the principle of a free and open internet is something on which all parties agree. What American consumers didn't need was a hyper-partisan FCC suddenly regulating the internet as a 'public utility' under the pretense of 'protecting consumers.' Accordingly, CFIF applauds Chairman Pai for moving to restore common sense to internet regulation and the FCC."