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.”
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.