Today, the FCC voted to impose Title II regulation on the Internet and preempt state laws restricting the expansion of municipal broadband networks. To hear more about these historic regulations, join us Friday, February 27th for a fireside chat with FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly, followed by a panel of top experts discussing the impact of today’s votes. Please RSVP here.

Today’s FCC votes resolve nothing,” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. “The FCC is bound to lose in court on much or all of its plan to remake broadband into a heavily regulated service — or, even better, a government-run monopoly. Unfortunately, neither Chairman Wheeler nor President Obama seems to care two figs about the legal details, which will be fought over well into the next administration. The President’s big speech in November didn’t even reference the correct Title II! And Chairman Wheeler today admitted to reporters ‘I don’t really know’ how the rules will be applied.’ This is pure political theatre. But the scope of authority claimed by the FCC should be frightening to anybody concerned for Internet freedom.”

Those cheering for ‘net neutrality’ have been the victims of a colossal bait-and-switch,” lamented Szoka. “A legislative deal on net neutrality itself has always been within reach. But then, actually resolving the debate has never been the goal of those who’ve poured more than $200 million into what became the campaign for Title II. Their real goal has always been maximizing the FCC’s powers.  And along the way, they discovered how to milk ‘net neutrality’  to build what’s become the Tea Party of the Left. Their main goal is simply to keep the outrage alive so they can continue building their mailing lists, raising money, and alienating Republicans from their natural allies in Silicon Valley.”

Congress must rein in the FCC,” concluded Szoka. “Hill Republicans are moving forward with legislation to address core net neutrality concerns without Title II. They can and should revive a 2006 compromise over muni broadband, too — but make sure that government-owned networks are a last resort, and that cities do first everything they can to stimulate private deployment. Congress must close both Pandora’s Boxes, Title II and Section 706, to ensure that the FCC doesn’t keep inventing authority to regulate. Congress must re-examine the FCC’s opaque, dysfunctional processes and its outdated, silo-based approach to regulation. But more fundamentally, why do we need a special regulator for communications at all? The Federal Trade Commission is fully capable of policing competition and consumer protection online. Maybe it’s finally time to start dismantling the FCC?

We can be reached for comment at See more of our work on net neutrality and Title II, including: