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Obama’s Net-Neutrality Plan Could Mean New Internet Fees

November 21, 2014

Brendan Sasso
National Journal

President Obama thrilled liberals and Internet activists last week by calling for the “strongest possible” net-neutrality regulations to ensure that all Internet traffic is treated equally.

But his plan, which is still under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission, has raised a host of thorny regulatory questions unrelated to net neutrality, such as whether to impose government fees on Internet service.

Just hours after the White House released Obama’s statement, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler met in a conference room in his agency’s headquarters with public interest advocates. According to two people at the meeting, Wheeler warned that implementing Obama’s plan would not be easy. The FCC would have to consider a range of issues, including whether to create a new fee on monthly Internet bills, Wheeler said. Read More…

Depression-era rules don’t fit the Internet

November 19, 2014

Tom Still
Kenosha News

By any standard, the Internet ranks as one of the leading innovations of our time. It has revolutionized everything from commerce to medicine to entertainment, all within the confines of a generation.

Better yet, it has done so largely without government regulation. So, why would President Obama think now is the time to turn back the clock to Depression-era rules written when all telephones were black, hard-wired and hung on a wall?

Obama said this week he believes high-speed Internet service providers should be regulated through “the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality,” thus endorsing a proposal to empower the Federal Communications Commission to require Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally and not charge content providers for better access. Read More…

Net Neutrality and Reclassification Make American Broadband Consumers the Real Losers

November 19, 2014

by Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Will Rinehart
CNS News

President Obama sent shockwaves through the network neutrality debate this past week by announcing his support of broadband reclassification (so-called “Title II regulation”). The move is equally startling and disappointing: presidents rarely offer such specific guidance and President Obama’s proposal isn’t likely to work as he intends it. Instead, the result would be regulatory chaos, years of legal wrangling, and a lost generation of consumer benefits from innovation and investment by Internet companies.

In its simplest form, network neutrality is the idea that all data should be treated equally and free when it passes over the Internet. While a superficially appealing notion, enshrining this idea into regulation is difficult and dangerous. For starters, networks must be constantly managed to ensure service. At any point in time, the cumulative burden of Netflix streams, LinkedIn invitations, Facebook po Read More…

Obama punts on net neutrality

November 18, 2014

Michael Wolff
USA Today

President Obama’s decision to advocate the reclassification of Internet broadband services as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — that is, making broadband subject to all the laws that regulate telephone service — seems particularly Obama-like: squirrelly and lofty at the same time.

It’s squirrelly because it will never happen. Even the FCC’s chairman, Obama appointee Tom Wheeler, under whose authority the policy falls, seemed to acknowledge the president’s unhelpfulness by coolly noting the difficult legal thresholds further regulation and a change in status might face. Read More…

Latta Sounds Alarm About Utility-Style Regulation of the Internet – See more at:

November 17, 2014

Energy and Commerce Committee

On Title II Reclassification: “The end loser will be consumers. The Internet isn’t a utility, so we shouldn’t treat it as one”

WASHINGTON, DC – House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) today continued speaking out against heavy-handed regulation of the Internet currently being advocated for by President Obama. During the Free State Foundation’s policy seminar entitled, “Thinking the Unthinkable: Imposing the ‘Utility Model’ on Internet Providers,” Latta lauded the many success stories of innovation and growth provided by light regulatory touch and cautioned that new regulations on the Internet will impede innovation, job creation, and consumer choice. Excerpts of Latta’s speech below:

Read More…

Reclassifying broadband means higher prices

November 21, 2014

by: Steve Pociask

Tech Policy Daily

In an effort to impose net neutrality regulations, the FCC is considering the reclassification of broadband services from an “information service” to a “telecommunications service.” However, reclassifying broadband services as a regulated telecommunications service would come at a major cost to consumers.

Today, public utility property is generally taxed at a higher rate or under a broader base than other commercial property. Since reclassification would put broadband access under Title II regulation, many states are likely to use this new regulatory designation to generate additional property taxes. Moreover, states can do so without ever having to pursue the more challenging course of legislative change. For example, if ISPs are regulated by the FCC as a telecommunications service, current North Carolina law allows these companies to be taxed as a public utility service. Read More…

Top Ten Questions to Ask About Title II Utility Regulation of Internet

November 21, 2014

by Scott Cleland

The Heartland Institute

If Congress or the media seek incisive oversight/accountability questions to ask the FCC about the real world implications and unintended consequences of its Title II net neutrality plans, here are ten that fit the bill.

1. Authority? If the FCC truly needs more legal authority to do what it believes necessary in the 21st century, why doesn’t the FCC start the FCC modernization process and ask Congress for the legitimacy of real modern legislative authorities? Or is it the official position of the FCC that its core 1934 and 1996 statutory authorities are sufficiently timeless, modern and flexible to sustain the legitimacy of FCC regulation for the remainder of the 21st century? Read More…

Net neutrality would boost FCC’s budget by upping fees

November 20, 2014

By Yaël Ossowski

With a name like Federal Communications Commission, one would expect the nation’s premier regulator of the public airwaves to be a functioning government bureaucracy with access to the federal coffers.

But much like the Federal Reserve, which regulates monetary policy for the United States, the FCC actually is an independent agency, connected to the executive and legislative branches only by presidential appointment and Senate confirmation of commissioners.

It receives its money solely from usage fees collected from communications firms, which pass that cost on to consumers.

That means it’s no more federal than Federal Express. Read More…

The Myth That Title II Regulation of Broadband and Wireless Would Be Comparable

November 20, 2014

Hance Haney
Technology Liberation Front

Supporters of Title II reclassification for broadband Internet access services point to the fact that some wireless services have been governed by a subset of Title II provisions since 1993.  No one is complaining about that.  So what, then, is the basis for opposition to similar regulatory treatment for broadband?

Austin Schlick, the former FCC general counsel, outlined the so-called “Third Way” legal framework for broadband in a 2010 memo that proposed Title II reclassification along with forbearance of all but six of Title II’s 48 provisions.  He noted that “this third way is a proven success for wireless communications.”  This is the model that President Obama is backing.  Title II reclassification “doesn’t have to be a big deal,” Harold Feld reminds us, since the wireless industry seems to be doing okay despite the fact mobile phone service was classified as a Title II service in 1993. Read More…

Net neutrality is far more complicated than President Obama wants you to believe

November 19, 2014

Gus Hurwitz
American Enterprise Institute

Last week President Obama entered the Net Neutrality fray. He did so forcefully and inartfully, interjecting his views late in a months-long period of complex discussions. And he did so with the sophistication of an outsider to these discussions, with a superficial understanding of the issues and a simplistic approach to addressing them. For the President, it seems, core telecommunications policy issues are a political football, to be reduced to populist terms and scrimmaged over for a few yards of political gain. But these issues present complex technical, legal, and economic issues that cannot – and should not – be reduced to mere political terms. They affect an industry of critical economic and social importance; one that makes up a significant portion of GDP and that contributes hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment annually; and one that is of great importance to the modern democratic state. 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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