Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Title II’
November 21st, 2014 at 10:20 am
Video – Title II: Obama Wants to Regulate the Internet
Posted by Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Barack Obama’s misguided push to have the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like a public utility under telephone and railroad laws drafted in the 1930s – long before the Internet (or computers, for that matter) was even invented.

 

October 27th, 2014 at 10:22 am
Title II Reclassification: Not Just Unwise, But Also Illegal
Posted by 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.

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

August 11th, 2010 at 10:58 am
More Than 150 Organizations, State Legislators and Bloggers Urge FCC to Abandon Plans to Regulate the Internet

In letters sent today to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), the Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) joined with more than 150 other organizations, state legislators and bloggers in urging the FCC to abandon its plans to regulate the Internet.

The letters were organized by Americans for Tax Reform.  One of the letters reads in part:

Despite universal acknowledgement that Americans enjoy a free, open, and vibrant Internet, the FCC is relentlessly pursuing a massive regulatory regime that would stifle broadband expansion, create congestion, slow Internet speeds, jeopardize job retention and growth, and lead to higher prices for consumers.

We oppose the FCC’s effort to regulate the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which was written during the depression era to regulate telephone monopolies – 60 years before the Internet was ever conceived. … This regulatory ‘reclassification’ would effectively turn innovative private Internet services into a public utility.

“The already free and open Internet has sparked unprecedented growth and innovation over the last decade precisely because it hasn’t been burdened with unnecessary regulation and taxation,” said CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella.  “The reckless desires of three unelected FCC commissioners and a few radical fringe groups on the left that wish to turn the Internet into a government-controlled public utility now threaten to grind those wheels of Internet growth and innovation to a halt.

“The Courts have spoken.  A rare bipartisan majority in Congress opposes the FCC’s plans.  And, the American people reject this unnecessary and job-killing regulatory regime sought by the FCC,” Mazzella continued.  “It’s past time for the FCC to listen and abandon its plans for a government takeover the Internet.”

To read the letters send to the FCC, click here and here.

The Hill’s popular Hillicon Valley blog mentions the letters here.

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

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?

May 6th, 2010 at 8:11 am
REPORTS: Obama’s FCC Will Revert to New Deal-Era Laws to Impose “Net Neutrality”
Posted by Print

Just last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held unanimously that Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) doesn’t possess authority to nationalize the Internet via so-called “Net Neutrality.” And in the court of public opinion, the American electorate opposes this destructive scheme to dictate Internet traffic flow by a 2-to-1 margin.

So how is the hyper-politicized FCC choosing to respond?  By reverting to decades-old New Deal-era laws to shoehorn the Internet into statutes drafted for 1930s landline telephones. Since the advent of the Internet era in 1996, Congress, the courts and the FCC have rightfully designated the Internet an “information service,” and therefore subject to different rules than archaic early telephone lines.

But according to news reports, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce today his reckless “damn the torpedoes” approach.  Just as Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid reverted to every available scheme to impose ObamaCare on an unwilling public, the FCC will apparently adopt the same approach to federalize Internet service, one of the few sectors that has maintained its dynamism during the economic downturn.  With its humiliating Court of Appeals defeat to one side and looming November elections on the other, yet another Obama Administration arm thus prefers hyperpartisanship over compromise and reasonability.

As always, American consumers and our economy will pay the price for this component of the Obama Agenda, since it will stifle the private investment and broadband buildout necessary to keep pace with ever-increasing Internet use.  Fortunately, this scheme will ultimately meet the same result handed down by the Court of Appeals last month, but only after years of costly litigation, regulatory limbo and acrimony.

Justice will prevail and we will win this battle, but it’s going to take another good fight.  The stakes are too high to relent.