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Stopping Regulatory Power Grabs to Protect the Internet

Aug 2, 2012

H.J. Res. 37, A Resolution Disapproving the FCC’s Internet Rules

In December 2010, the Federal Communications Commission issued Internet rules that stifle innovation, investments, and jobs.

  • These so-called "network neutrality" or "open Internet" rules put the government in charge of deciding how to manage broadband networks, create technology partnerships, and manage investments in innovation.
  • One communications analyst explained that the Internet rules "restricts the carriers’ flexibility in designing their business plans, limits their sources of revenue, dictates that they spend capital to expand their networks at the edge-providers’ will, and forces them to subsidize competitors who cannibalize their customer base.

The FCC, which issued these rules on a partisan 3-2 vote, has no basis for its actions.

  • To warrant this type of intervention in the market, the FCC would need to identify a crisis or market failure. It has provided evidence of neither.
  • In addition, the FCC has not cited sufficient legal authority for its actions.
  • The FCC is simply speculating about the potential for future harm. It is arguing that the Internet works well today, which is why we need a government takeover to make sure nothing goes wrong in the future. But as one Democratic, former FCC commissioner put it, "if it ain’t broke, don’t break it."
  • The FCC admits in its order that it has conducted no market analysis – it has no idea how these new Internet rules will stymie job creation or hinder investment in new technologies and broadband access.

Overturning the controversial Internet rules will end uncertainty created in the marketplace by the FCC’s power-grab.

FCC Commissioner McDowell said, "We already have enough consumer protection laws on the books to cure many of the hypothesized fears (that some see).  The goal should be to make the market more competitive."

The House approved H.J.Res 37 on April 8, 2011, by a bipartisan vote of 240 to 179.

H. Con. Res 127

In December 2012, nations from across the globe will meet at a UN forum in Dubai to discuss proposals to fundamentally change the Internet by allowing an international regulatory regime designed for old-fashioned telephone service.

H. Con. Res 127 is a bipartisan resolution that expresses the sense of Congress that:

  • The Internet must remain stable, secure, and free from government control;
  • The structure of the Internet governance has profound implications for competition and trade, democratization, free expression, and access to information;
  • Countries have obligations to protect human rights, which are protected by online activity as well as offline activity;
  • Proposals to fundamentally alter the governance and operation of the Internet would diminish freedom of expression on the Internet in favor of government control over content; and,
  • The position of the U.S. Government has been and is to advocate for the flow of information free from government control.

In support of the House resolution, FCC Commissioner Genachowski said, "Proposals to abandon the multistakeholder model would be devastating to the future of the Internet, and I will continue to work with my colleagues at the FCC and throughout the U.S. government to oppose such proposals."

The House approved H. Con. Res 127 on August 2, 2012, by a vote of 414-0.