Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Commissioner Mike O’Rielly issued the following statement today:
“I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to
regulate the Internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any
affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used
not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.
It appears that the FCC is tilting at windmills here. Instead of fostering investment and
innovation through deregulation, the FCC will be devoting its resources to adopting new rules
without any evidence that consumers are unable to access the content of their choice.”
Commissioner Pai's statement, released Feb. 19, in response to FCC Chair Wheeler's statement on the Open Internet.
Today’s announcement reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day. In the wake of a court
defeat, an FCC Chairman floats a plan for rules regulating Internet service providers’ network
management practices instead of seeking guidance from Congress, all while the specter of Title
II reclassification hovers ominously in the background. I am skeptical that this effort will end
any differently from the last.
When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to
infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to “preserve the
vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by
Federal or State regulation.” Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take
that statutory command to heart.
The Internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains
free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.