E&C GOP to Rosenworcel: “The Net Neutrality Debate was Settled When the Internet Didn’t Break”
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), along with Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), today sent a letter signed by every E&C Republican Member to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel ahead of the agency’s planned vote on a proposed rulemaking on net neutrality, which the FCC lacks the authority to impose.
- On September 26, 2023, the FCC announced plans to vote to reclassify fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
- If enacted, this would open the door to burdensome regulations that would weaken services for Americans, stifle innovation, jeopardize U.S. communications leadership, and potentially allow the FCC to regulate broadband rates.
- This is in stark contrast with FCC Chair Rosenworcel’s previous testimony to the committee when she said there would be “no rate regulation.” It also contradicts information released by her office just last month, which reiterated that “policies like rate regulation [. . .] would be strictly prohibited.”
- Furthermore, American broadband services have outperformed predictions made by Title II proponents after its repeal in 2017. Despite fearmongering, the Internet was not killed and we are not receiving it one word at a time.
- In contrast to this fearmongering, American broadband networks have thrived under the current light-touch regulatory environment, providing people with faster internet speeds and lower prices.
KEY EXCERPTS ON THE SUCCESS OF CURRENT BROADBAND REGULATIONS:
“American broadband networks have thrived under the current light-touch regulatory framework. Investment in our networks has reached record highs, giving consumers faster speeds and lower prices. Indeed, since 2017, the cost of broadband (adjusted for inflation) has fallen while prices for electricity, water, and sewage have grown four to five times faster than prices for broadband. And these networks perform remarkably well, as shown during the Covid-19 pandemic. When work, school, and staying connected with loved ones moved online, traffic over our broadband networks spiked—reaching over 27 percent more than pre-pandemic levels. American broadband networks withstood this increased traffic without interruption. This is unlike what happened in Europe, where heavy-handed regulations, similar to those you now propose, meant that networks could not bear the increased use, causing regulators to ask sites like Netflix and YouTube to degrade and throttle their service.
“Heavy-handed, utility-style regulation is not meant for today’s broadband market. Congress enacted Title II in 1934 to address a telephone market dominated by one company. In contrast, today’s broadband market is increasingly competitive—there is competition among different providers offering service via a variety of technologies. Further, your decision to forebear from twenty-seven provisions in Title II and over 700 regulations underscores that the Title II regime is not appropriate for broadband. You would not need to perform these legal gymnastics to make Title II work if Congress meant for it to apply. It clearly did not, as broadband service did not exist in its current form in 1934 or 1996, the last time the Communications Act was comprehensively updated. Forbearance also raises its own concerns because it is temporary. A future FCC could reverse this forbearance, exposing broadband providers to these burdensome regulations.”
CLICK HERE to read the full letter to FCC Chair Rosenworcel.
CLICK HERE to read the statement from Chairs Rodgers and Latta on the FCC’s decision to revive the net neutrality debate.