Dear Chairman Pai, Commissioner O’Rielly, and Commissioner Clyburn:
These coalition comments are updated from the July 17, 2017 submission with additional signatures that include 83 organizations, elected officials, and individuals opposed to the Federal Communications Commission’s Title II regulatory expansion.
We, the undersigned organizations, represent millions of Americans concerned about the overreach of the Federal government. We write to voice our support for returning the Internet to the light touch regulatory approach that allowed the Internet to take off.
There was a bipartisan “Hands off the Net!” consensus championed by both former President Bill Clinton and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and by other leading members of both parties — until the FCC made two sweeping claims of power over the Internet in the name of protecting “net neutrality”:
- 2010: The FCC claimed the power to do anything, over any form of communications (not just broadband) that might somehow (however tenuously) promote broadband under Section 706.
- 2015: The FCC declared that broadband was a common carrier service subject to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 — a regulatory regime designed for the old Ma Bell telephone monopoly and rotary dial phones connected by actual operators.
No government agency should be trusted with such vast powers — but especially not the FCC, an agency so prone to politicization and regulatory capture.1 Congress simply could not have intended to give the FCC a blank check to regulate the Internet back in 1996. In fact, the 1996 Telecom Act could hardly have been more clear, declaring that “It is the policy of the United States… to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”2
2 47 U.S.C. § 230(b)(2).