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Netflix to Wheeler: “We were only kidding!”

March 5, 2015

Randolph J. May

The Free State Foundation

Please see the Variety story, “Netflix Now Says It Didn’t Actually Want FCC to Regulate Broadband So Heavily,” with this report:

“On Wednesday, Netflix chief financial officer David Wells, speaking at the 2015 Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, said the company wasn’t happy with the FCC move. He said that, while the streaming-video company wanted to see “strong” net neutrality measures to ensure content providers would be protected against ISPs charging arbitrary interconnection fees, Netflix would have preferred a lighter regulatory touch.

“Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not,” Wells said at the conference. “We were hoping there would be a non-regulated solution.”

Are you kidding me? Or was Netflix kidding FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler?

Everyone knows that Netflix was a leading — if not the leading — proponent of Title II regulation.

This must be a storyline for a very bad Netflix movie — I don’t know whether it’s a comedy or a tragedy.

Thank the good Lord that the Commission always reserves “editorial privileges” to revise, even substantially, its orders before public release. Maybe there’s time to rewrite the whole nightmare scenario!

Netflix Exec Now Says It Didn’t Actually Want FCC to Regulate Broadband So Heavily

March 4, 2015

Todd Spangler


Netflix CFO David Wells, in comments at an industry conference, appeared to backtrack on the company’s previous position that broadband Internet service should be regulated by the U.S. government as a telecommunications utility — but Netflix later said that its position remained unchanged on the issue.

Last year, Netflix urged the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecom service, under Title II of the Communications Act. In a July 2014 filing, Netflix said that “Title II provides [the FCC with] a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs. Opposition to Title II is largely political, not legal.”

The FCC on Feb. 26 approved new network neutrality rules, by a 3-2 vote, that will treat broadband services like traditional phone services under Title II, although those will restrict the commission from imposing rate regulation, tariffs or limits on bundling. Big ISPs like Comcast and Verizon had argued strenuously against such a reclassification. Read More…

FCC’s Net Neutrality Order To Ensnare Content And App Providers

March 4, 2015

Wayne Crews


In comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) way back in 2007, I urged CEO- and Board-level focus to put a halt to the net neutrality steamroller, and was unsurprisingly ignored.

Some formerly hot-blooded net neutrality advocates are having second thoughts about a new “Federal Department of the Internet,” though.

We saw that in the runup to and in the wake of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s February order to centrally govern tomorrow’s Internet as a public utility — using 1930′s law.

Under limited government, few issues are federal public policy questions. But, limited doesn’t describe modern government. Special interests frequently capture national regulators, and hard core net neutrality advocates certainly accomplished their goals at FCC. Read More…

Welcome to the Obamanet

February 27, 2015

The Wall Street Journal

The Federal Communications Commission’s decision Thursday to regulate the Internet as a public utility is a depressing moment for American innovation and economic liberty. The FCC is grabbing political control over a vibrant market that until now has been driven by inventors and consumers. Welcome to the Obamanet.

President Obama demanded this result in a November speech, and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel have now dutifully voted to apply last century’s monopoly telephone rules to Internet service providers. They have in the process made a mockery of the agency’s supposed independence. Read More…

The FCC Just Voted to Regulate the Internet Like a Utility

February 27, 2015

Peter Suderman


In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to radically overhaul the way Internet service is regulated. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the commission’s two Democratic commissioners voted to move forward with the rules. The agency’s two GOP-appointed commissioners opposed them.

Under the new rules, broadband providers, long classified by the agency as Title I information services, will now be regulated as Title II telecommunications services—essentially making them public utilities, like the phone system. The move is designed to allow the FCC to implement strict net neutrality rules limiting how much control Internet service providers (ISPs) can exert over what passes over their networks. Read More…

Content Control Is the Very Essence of the President’s New Net Neutrality Laws

March 4, 2015

Mike Wendy

Media Freedom

The FCC says the President’s new Title II rules are not about controlling speech. I guess that memo never made it to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who seems to believe that controlling free speech is the very heart of the new Internet takeover.

In her statement at the FCC’s open meeting last week, when she voted for the President’s new plan, she said:

“So here we are, 224 years [after the Bill of Rights and it First Amendment became law], at a pivotal fork in the road, poised to preserve those very same virtues of a democratic society – free speech, freedom of religion, a free press, freedom of assembly and a functioning free market.

“As we look around the world we see foreign governments blocking access to websites including social media — in sum, curtailing free speech. There are countries where it is routine for governments, not the consumer, to determine the type of websites and content that can be accessed by its citizens. I am proud to be able to say that we are not among them.”

Really, Commissioner Clyburn?  So, the FCC isn’t regulating Internet content?

Hardly. Read More…

Why the FCC’s Vote to Regulate the Internet is a Mistake

March 4, 2015

Ryan Radia

Competitive Enterprise Institute

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate Internet providers as public utilities under a 1934 law. President Obama celebrated this ruling, which the FCC based on his plan to enforce net neutrality – the idea that Internet providers shouldn’t be allowed to prioritize, throttle, degrade, or block lawful content. But the FCC’s sweeping rules will have unintended consequences for the Internet’s future, potentially hurting the very users net neutrality is supposed to protect.

To understand why regulating Internet providers as public utilities is unwise, consider other markets where bureaucrats have the final say over prices and services. Taxicabs, for instance, are strictly governed by local boards or commissions that dictate rates and policies. Read More…

Net Neutrality Vote Shows Congress Must Rein In and Replace the FCC

February 27, 2015

Wayne Crews

Competitive Enterprise Institute

The separation of powers doctrine demands that Congress not tolerate unelected federal agencies going it alone and making binding law.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on a party line vote, has elected to impose so-called net neutrality regulation via a reclassification of the formerly lightly regulated Internet under Title II of the Communications Act.

Somehow, we suddenly need government force to protect the freedom we’ve known online, with a 332-page set of rules no one outside the agency has seen. Read More…

Today’s FCC Actions Create ObamaNet, and Americans Will Suffer for It

February 27, 2015

Mike Wendy

Media Freedom

Mt. Vernon, VA, February 26, 2015 – Welcome to Occupy the Internet – that is, ObamaNet. Today’s two White House Orders from its “independent” FCC have effected a virtual and physical takeover of the Web. It cannot be put any more plainly than that. Sadly, Americans will suffer as a result.

How? Let’s take a look.

FCC” Order number 1: Imposition of utility regulations for the Internet. In seeking to make the Internet more “fair and open,” the FCC’s circa-1934 utility laws ban practices, agreements and exchanges of information which every other segment of our economy uses to make better, cheaper, more innovative and commercially sustainable offerings for consumers and society. Instead of free actors in the marketplace making decisions on their own, the FCC now is in charge, even though it can’t keep its own website from crashing. Say goodbye to private investment and permission-less innovation, especially the stuff on the margins.ObamaNet will slow the vital medium down to the speed of government. But, that’s OK because it’s “fair” and the “right thing to do” so evil corporations don’t screw up “our” Internet. Read More…

Americans Face Billions in Higher Internet Taxes & Fees Due to Today’s FCC Vote

February 27, 2015

Patrick M. Gleason

Americans for Tax Reform

Today the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate the Internet as a public utility. This ruling is bad news for taxpayers, as it will trigger billions of dollars in additional state and local taxes and fees. Scroll down to read ATR president Grover Norquist’s recent column in Reuters explaining how this government takeover of the Internet will reduce the disposable income of individuals, families, and employers. Read More…

Utility Regulation Will Make the Internet Rusty

October 10, 2014

Mike Wendy
Media Freedom

No one loves their public utilities. They’re slow, unresponsive to change, and only just good enough for government work, which isn’t saying much.

If you’d talk to progressives working in the Internet space, though, you’d hear a different story. They think that utilities, and the 19th Century regulation used to control them, are the greatest things since sliced bread.  You see, they want to make private U.S. broadband providers public utilities, and radical groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge and have pulled out all of the stops to get the Federal Communications Commission to do so.

Why? Read More…

Free State Foundation Comments

September 17, 2014

by Free State Foundation

On the issue of            )           AT&T and Direct TV merger

I. Introduction and Summary
These comments are filed in response to the Commission’s request for comments
concerning the agency’s review of the transfer of control of licenses in connection with the
proposed acquisition of DIRECTV by AT&T Inc. These comments do not endorse or oppose the
proposed merger. Rather, their purpose is to set out baseline principles by which the Commission
should evaluate this as well as other mergers and to provide a summary analysis of
AT&T/DIRECTV in light of those principles.
Mergers and acquisitions are competitive entrepreneurial activities Read More…

Free-Market Advocates’ Comments to FCC, Opposing Internet Regulation

July 15, 2014

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of  Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet

GN Docket No. 14-28

Comments of

Free-Market Advocates Opposed to Internet Regulation

For 10 years officials at the Federal Communications Commission have told Americans that the Internet will “break” unless the agency steps in to keep it “free and open.”  All the while, the Internet’s privately driven development has been vibrant, relentless and universal.  Nevertheless, at points during this same period the Commission twice sought to encumber the Internet with restrictive common carrier-like, Net Neutrality regulations.  In response to each of these actions, the DC Circuit twice struck down the agency’s overreach.  In the latest DC Circuit ruling – Verizon v. FCC[1] – the Court struck down the main thrust of the Commission’s arguments, but found that the Commission had some authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act.   The Commission has apparently undertaken the present Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to once again establish a regulatory regime in the absence of a market failure or a clear Congressional grant of authority.

The Internet is “free and open,” making the vast “network of networks” an integral engine for societal growth, participatory democracy and global commerce.  Its healthy development came primarily through the lack of government regulation, not because of it.  Although the Court seems to have offered the FCC a very narrow pathway to impose some form of Net Neutrality regulation on the Internet, nothing demands that the FCC go forward with its present plans.

Read More…

IFC Reply Comments to FCC: Title II Reclassification Unjustified, Unnecessary

August 12, 2010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of Framework for Broadband Internet Service                    

GN Docket No. 10-127

FCC Docket No. 10-114

 Reply Comments

of the Undersigned Members of the



The Commission is being asked by Free Press and other organizations to pursue a radical course of action – reclassifying information services as telecommunications services in order to regulate the Internet for the first time.  We write to urge the Commission to keep the Internet free of new government regulation and taxation and to refrain from rushing into such a potentially disastrous course of action.

Analysts are only beginning to grasp the extent of the disruptive and destructive consequences of regulating the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and the Commission is in no position to predict the outcome, much less assure Americans it will be positive.  Americans have heard political leaders admit that we will not know the full extent or nature of massive health care and financial services regulations until after the underlying legislation has been passed.  Now, Americans are facing the imposition of an even lesser-understood regulatory regime over the Internet without the benefit of any legislative process whatsoever.


IFC Supplemental Reply Comments: FCC Lacks Authority, Justification for Reclassifying Internet as Title II Service

April 26, 2010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
Preserving the Open Internet              GN Docket No. 09-191                                  
Broadband Industry Practices            WC Docket No. 07-52

Supplemental Reply Comments of the Internet Freedom Coalition

Just two days prior to the Commission’s deadline for reply comments regarding the above Notice of Proposed Rulemakings, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in Comcast v. FCC that the Commission has no authority to enact Net Neutrality rules.  The deadline for comments was extended, particularly to facilitate discussion of other methods of promulgating Net Neutrality regulations.

 Beginning with comments on the National Broadband Plan filed by Public Knowledge in January, a small number of organizations have since proposed classifying the Internet as a Title II common carrier service as a way of asserting the Commission’s authority to enact Net Neutrality regulations.  The Internet Freedom Coalition respectfully submits these reply comments in strong opposition to any effort to reclassify the Internet as a Title II service.

Read More…

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