The following letter – urging the rollback of Title II and the Open Internet Order – was submitted to the FCC on April 19, 2017:

Via ECFS

Ms. Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

April 19, 2017

Re: Letter on GN Docket No. 14-28, urging the “rollback” of the Open Internet Order

Dear Ms. Dortch:

The undersigned signatories – comprised of individuals from small Internet startups, WISPs, Internet engineers and content providers – would like to applaud the FCC’s present efforts to roll back the Open Internet Order (OIO). We have long-believed that the OIO’s needless rules were primarily designed as a government-mandated handout / subsidy from ISPs to Silicon Valley, paying back a political favor, and nothing more. The Internet was not “broken” to justify such an arbitrary and deleterious policy shift from the previous light touch regulatory regime – the latter of which propelled massive private Internet investment and deployment, as well as generated incalculable pro-consumer and societal benefit. With the OIO’s 19th Century utility regulations, however, the Obama-Wheeler Commission did in fact break the Internet ecosystem with its market-distorting, innovation-by-permission ISP licensing scheme. The public interest demands the arrest of the OIO’s overreach, and a return to the light touch policy that grew the Internet.

To this end, as you collect input to inform your rollback plans, we would like to offer you our brief thoughts: [click to continue…]

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The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President, MediaFreedom.org:

Alexandria, VA, April 7, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reported late last night that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has begun plans to roll back the prior Commission’s Net Neutrality / Open Internet Order, starting as early as this May. The report notes that Chairman Pai’s efforts “appear aimed at preserving the basic principles of net neutrality but shifting enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission.”  The paper adds that the FCC would likely reverse the prior Commission’s reclassification of broadband providers into common carrier utilities, “so the FTC again would have jurisdiction over the telecommunications carriers.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, working to reduce the last Commission’s needless and deleterious regulatory overreach.

Though details are still emerging, MediaFreedom hails these efforts if true. We have long-believed that the needless rules were primarily designed as a government-mandated handout / subsidy from the ISPs to Silicon Valley, paying back a political favor and nothing more.  All the spin from the OIO’s supporters about the regulations’ role in promoting free speech was just window dressing, masking a role the government, through the First Amendment, has no right to accomplish.  Quite simply, the Internet wasn’t “broken” to justify such an arbitrary and deleterious policy shift.  With the FDR-era regulations, however, the prior Commission did in fact break the ecosystem.

MediaFreedom would still like to see the bans on throttling, blocking and paid priority removed, and we hope the details allow for this, or certainly a more reasonable application of Uncle Sam’s policing power to these proscriptions.

That said, congratulations go to Chairman Pai and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly for working to arrest the OIO’s overreach. In the long run, Congress will have to act to permanently address the harms caused by the OIO / Title II regulations, but the FCC’s plan is excellent news for our economy and consumers, who use the dynamic and evolving Web to thrive and prosper.

We stand ready to help the FCC and Congress make these important and necessary changes.

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In Berkman Center’s report on the role the media and the web played in helping the FCC pass Net Neutrality / Title II rules, it concluded that Ars Technica and The Verge were some of the most helpful publications in that pitched battle.

Apparently, their pro-Net Neutrality spin was much appreciated by the “cause.”

So, it comes as no surprise that both Ars and The Verge would carry that forward into other related areas to keep up the good work – you know, for the “cause.”

Take for example yesterday’s news that a UNANIMOUS Commission – that’s right, the majority with the minority – voted to eliminate the onerous “overbuild requirements” (i.e., mandates to build infrastructure in already served areas) of last year’s Charter merger.

Oddly, both Ars and The Verge make no mention of the unanimity of the vote. They just couldn’t utter the word.

Why so quiet?

“Unanimous” interferes with the “you didn’t build this” narrative of the prior Administration and Commission, flying in the face of its specious “competition, competition, competition” mantra. Yesterday’s change follows a sensible policy of building where facilities aren’t, and then using other tools, like the marketplace, to promote real, not centrally-planned, competition.  It lends credibility to a lighter regulatory touch (previously denied by the prior FCC) to help Americans get on the Internet. Further, it shows that the “settled science” of Net Neutrality, well, maybe it ain’t so settled.

It’s not a little slip.  It’s a purposeful under-reporting.  Because the “cause” and some of its water-carriers cannot abide the facts.

Policy built on this willful blindness hurts Americans.  Good thing the new FCC is correcting that.  “Helpful” members of the press would do well to do that, too.

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MediaFreedom applauds yesterday’s House action to repeal the FCC’s Internet privacy rules. The legislation now goes to the President where it is expected to be signed into law. This is good news, and represents an important step in correcting the last FCC’s regulatory overreach, which has done immense damage to consumers, society and the Internet ecosystem.

Instead of needlessly complex and confusing rules, American Internet users will once again be guided by an FTC-like privacy regime that will harmonize privacy regulation across all Internet players, boost innovation, provide more useful information to consumers and open up competition, all of which were foreclosed by the previous FCC’s partisan actions.

Of course, Congress will have to stop the policy ping pong by overturning the prior Commission’s punishing utility regulation of ISPs, which is the root issue at hand. Those FDR-era rules thwart sustainable growth and infrastructure deployment. Consequently, not only do ISPs lose, but average Americans do, too. We urge Congress to make this change quickly, and stand ready to support its efforts as it moves forward.

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