Thursday 25 April 2024

Democrat FCC Majority Votes to Restore Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

 The Democrat majority at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Thursday to restore the Obama-era net neutrality rules.

During President Donald Trump’s administration, then-Chairman Ajit Pai had repealed them.

Leftists have long sought to capture more regulatory authority over the internet using Title II regulations.

Essentially, net neutrality regulations seek to prohibit internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon, from blocking, slowing down, or allowing for “paid prioritization,” by which users can pay for faster, more consistent service.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr told Breitbart News in an interview in April that net neutrality represents a leftist “power grab by the administrative state” and an “unlawful overreach.”

Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission Brendan Carr speaks during the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC.)  (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty)

Allum Bokhari, a former Breitbart News reporter, explained:

The law of common carriage, mandated by the Title II regulations demanded by Democrats, is one of the solutions recommended by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to address tech censorship. Yet Democrats want the rule applied to service providers, which are not in the habit of kicking off internet users for their political viewpoints, while not recommending similar regulations on the companies and platforms that are actually responsible for suppressing online discourse over the past five years — companies like Google, YouTube, Twitter/X, and Facebook.

Progressives and Democrats lost their minds when the FCC repealed Net Neutrality under Trump, predicting the end of the internet as we know it, and a variety of other disasters. As Breitbart News predicted at the time, none of these doom-laden predictions came true, and in fact broadband speeds across the country improved.

Carr also lamented that the FCC moved to reenact net neutrality and not hold big tech accountable, which he said is the “greatest threat on the internet.”

While net neutrality wants to ensure that internet service providers cannot block or throttle websites, Google actually blocked some California news outlets while fighting California over a state bill to make Big Tech giants pay online publishers.

This raises questions over if big tech platforms such as Google or internet service providers such as Verizon stifle free expression on the internet.

Carr said in his dissenting statement against the net neutrality order that bringing back net neutrality will harm the increased broadband speeds and lower prices America experienced without net neutrality:

Here’s what the data show. Internet speeds are up 430% since 2017 on the fixed broadband side, and they are up 647% on the mobile side. In real terms, the prices for Internet services have dropped by about 9% since the beginning of 2018, according to BLS CPI data. On the mobile broadband side alone, real prices have dropped by roughly 18% since 2017, according to BLS and industry data. And for the most popular broadband speed tiers, real prices are down 54%, and for the fastest broadband speed tiers, prices are down 55%, over the past 8 years, according to BLS and industry data.30

FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said in a written statement on Thursday:

We were told when the policy was repealed under the Trump administration that the internet was over. Sure enough, that wasn’t the case. In 2020 we had the pandemic, and frankly, we should all be thrilled that internet service providers were able to deftly handle the increased traffic for telehealth and distance learning, which may have been at the expense of streaming Tiger King.

Even outside of a crisis, one has to wonder what incentive a data provider or internet service provider (ISP) would have to discriminate when it comes to content. The short answer is that there is none. They have every incentive to promote public safety and fairness online, lest they lose business. This latest leftist incursion isn’t about fairness. It’s about keeping the internet more firmly under government control and limiting free market innovation.

Americans for Prosperity senior policy analyst James Czerniawski said in a statement:

The FCC’s vote to restore Net Neutrality is a net loss for Americans. Net neutrality is Bidenomics for the web – an expensive government takeover of the internet that would increase costs, limit choice, and stifle innovation. Despite claims that the world would end without these burdensome internet rules, the contrary occurred. Since 2017, internet speeds have increased, prices have gone down, and consumers have more options than ever before.

Czerniawski added, “Rather than bringing back a partisan scheme that makes our internet worse, the FCC should be focused on restoring its spectrum authority and working to close the digital divide.”

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