Federal Communications Commission Moves Forward with Net Neutrality Reform
Details of the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to roll back Obama-era net neutrality regulations are circulating this week. CEI has written about many of the policy points included in the new order and links to that material are included in the listing of its reported content below:
- Repealing the Title II classification of broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service and returning it to an information service under Title I
- Classifying mobile broadband Internet service as a private mobile service rather than a commercial mobile service
- Restoring the 706 interpretation to the FCC 2010 interpretation
- Repealing the Internet conduct standard of the 2015 order
- Repealing the ban on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization on broadband service providers
- Eliminating the requirement for broadband providers to report packet loss of data, but requiring they report incidents of blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization
- Instituting federal preemption of any state or local rule that conflicts with this new order.
Of particular importance is the return of broadband Internet services to its original classification as an information service, thus removing it from Title II authority. That 2002 decision was instrumental in keeping heavy-handed government regulation away from the growth of the Internet. For the years it was in place, that approach proved to foster meteoric growth and rapid innovation. By contrast, during the two years of Title II regulation, broadband network investment fell 5.6%.
Also encouraging is the lifting of bans on business practices that are widely accepted in other industries and may prove to be beneficial to Internet innovation and consumer’s bottom lines. Bureaucrats and special interests should not decide what consumer do or do not want in terms of content, price differentiation, or product offerings. The marketplace keeps the customer as king while regulatory agencies view growing their influence as paramount.
The Internet thrived for twenty years, free from the harmful, unintended consequences regulations bring and with scant examples of the bad behavior net neutrality regulations claimed to prevent. Since the FCC’s 2015 power grab, innovation and progress have been threaten by cumbersome regulations and the uncertainty of ever-changing restrictions on business practices. Rolling this 2015 order back with unleash more market forces, to the benefit of consumers and the future of the Internet.
A final vote on the new order is scheduled for the FCC’s December 14 meeting.