Broadband Deployment, FCC Independence & Net Neutrality
WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, Donald Trump was elected President. His transition project will now begin, with only 72 days left to prepare before formally taking office in January. President Trump will confront many important issues during his tenure in office, but tech and innovation shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.
“More than anything, Trump’s election reflects deep economic frustration,” said Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom. “While tech wasn’t the main focus of that, bridging the Digital Divide is essential to empowering rural and small town America. Private enterprise has made heroic progress, investing nearly $1.5 trillion in private investment in broadband deployment. Yet broadband deployment remains unnecessarily difficult because of red tape, high fees and poor infrastructure planning at all levels of government. Fixing that could bring faster, cheaper broadband to millions of Americans, especially in rural areas. The Wheeler FCC has fixated on building government-run gigabit networks to serve small numbers of users in heavily Democratic cities. We need a more humble, realistic, pragmatic and inclusive approach.”
“We also have a new opportunity to end the divisive and distracting fight over net neutrality,” continued Szóka. “Expect either Congress or the FCC to reverse the two staggering power grabs made under Obama: first, that broadband is a Title II common carrier service and second, that Section 706 gives the FCC broad discretion to regulate the entire Internet. The only way to prevent flip-flopping by the FCC on these fundamental issues is a legislative compromise: Congressional Republicans have already proposed giving the FCC clear but narrow authority over the issue. Better still would be to empower the FTC to police the issue. Putting net neutrality regulation on solid footing would be a win for Democrats practical enough to see through the hysteria generated by the radical Left, even if it doesn’t look exactly like what they want. Even more important is undoing the Wheeler FCC’s staggering assertion that the FCC may freely change its mind to regulate up or down without really justifying forbearance. That bold, new power could be used to virtually rewrite the Act. Instead, the FCC should leave that job to Congress, making recommendations about how to fix Washington’s most broken, politicized agency.”
We can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. See our other work on Internet regulation, including:
- Our research agenda outlining how governments at all levels can ease broadband deployment
- Our Medium post, “Law & Economics Experts Should Replace Brill, Wright at FTC”
- Our petition to appeal the DC Circuit Court’s decision upholding Open Internet Order
- Our Medium post, “FCC Loses Key Muni Broadband Case”
TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.