Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), has introduced bipartisan legislation that would prevent the Federal Communications Comission (FCC) from classifying high-speed internet services under Title II of the Communications Act. Broadband could become a heavily regulated public utility.
In a press release, Rep. Latta argues: “The FCC’s plans to reclassify broadband under Title II are misguided, imposing monopoly-era telephone rules on a 21st Century industry that has thrived under the current light-touch regulatory framework will undoubtedly impede the economic growth and innovation that have resulted in the broadband marketplace absent government interference.” Rep. Latta is the Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
The Progressive Policy Institute released a statement explaining how Title II regulations are extremely outdated when applied to a modern industry such as broadband, and will likely result in $15 billion in new fees being passed on to the average subscriber.
The topic of Net Neutrality has been hotly debated for the last few years. Those in favor of Title II, believe without it, wealthy companies will pay premiums to have their content delivered quicker. With all of the high-speed routes going to the highest bidder, those websites without a lot of income will be reduced to such slow speeds people won’t want to visit them. President Obama has echoed this sentiment saying the “little guy” needs governmental protection.
This fear disregards how private internet service providers (ISP) work. As a consumer, if you are unable to get access to content you want through your current ISP, you are going to want to switch to a competitor who does. Also, why would a ISP not want to provide its customers with the content they want access to? Should high-speed railroad be required by the government to charge the same price as conventional rail? Wouldn’t that disincentivize the deployment of high-speed trains?
The growth of digital interconnectivity has been rapid, and the speed at which it moves is unarguably faster than the speed of regulations, and will continue to be so.
“These businesses thrive on dynamism and the ability to evolve quickly to shifting market and consumer forces. Subjecting them to bureaucratic red tape won’t promote innovation, consumer welfare or the economy. My legislation provides the certainty needed for continued investment in broadband networks and services that have been fundamental for job creation, productivity and consumer choice,” said Rep. Latta.