Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced they would vote later this month on “restoring” net neutrality. While the principles of net neutrality are not controversial, the implementation has always brought heated debate and unintended consequences. If the panel votes to restore the rules, it would reclassify internet service providers as common carriers by re-imposing outdated utility-style regulation on them, as the agency did in 2015.

R Street’s Jonathan Cannon, policy counsel for the technology and innovation team, in response to the news said: 

“FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is stretching her justification for reviving net neutrality rules to the breaking point. Unfortunately, the last time the agency implemented these rules, it stymied broadband deployment and stifled the broadband ecosystem. 

As we argued in our comments submitted to the Commission, whereas Title II regulation focused mainly on regulating broadband for net neutrality, this Order expands its justification to focus on other matters including national security, cyber security, privacy, and public safety that should be addressed independently of Title II.

Further, in our reply comments we stressed the negative impact these rules would have on innovation and broadband deployment efforts. We have also noted that the Biden Administration has been hamstringing its own efforts to bridge the digital divide by imposing a series of regulations that add unnecessary barriers or impede innovation and competition. 

Rather than focus on ramming through policies that will negatively impact consumers, the FCC should be focused on removing burdensome regulations on the internet marketplace. It needs to incentivize investment from the private sector, ensuring there is an environment for robust competition that will lower prices and increase the quality of services. These regulations will do the exact opposite.” 

For more, read research and commentary from the R Street technology and innovation team.

Get the latest in technology policy in your inbox.