The Federal Communications Commission voted on December 14th to repeal its Net Neutrality rules. This decision reversed the agency’s 2015 ruling that regulated Internet Service Providers as Title II Common Carriers, and required them to treat all websites, large and small, and all traffic the same.
As expected, the 3-2 vote, which was along party lines, enabled FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to move forward with his “light touch” regulation, which many people believe enabled the internet in the United States to successfully grow and prosper from the mid 1990's until 2015. Advocates hailed the 2015 decision as a victory for consumer protection because of how different the Internet looks today compared to its earlier days.
This is a very contentious issue, with similarities to other public policy debates taking place in America: a bipartisan issue which has hardened into two distinct sides. Consumers groups are planning to fight the December 14th repeal, as well as the Internet Association and a group of state attorneys general.
Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge (and former Chief of the FCC Wireless Bureau and legal advisor to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin), issued the following statement today regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s order restoring internet freedom:
“Tech Knowledge applauds the FCC for repealing the Obama administration’s bureaucratic power grab over internet regulation. Our elected representatives in Congress should decide the fundamentals of how the internet is regulated, not unelected bureaucrats at the FCC. Today’s action puts that responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Congress where it belongs.”
Fred is right that Congress should be in charge of establishing consistent telecom and internet policies. It is not beneficial to have our industry whipsawed with changes in appointments to the FCC over time.
Overall, we are delighted with the progress the FCC has made in 2017, with their earlier work on the ATSC 3.0 Order and now the repeal of Net Neutrality rules.
Both decisions align well with the Edge Spectrum, Inc. business plan and give us significant momentum and traction going into 2018.