Wicker Argues Innovation Could Be Stifled by FCC Regulation of the Internet
“By handing over more power to a government agency, net neutrality rules slam the brakes on potential investment and new innovation. The ideas that could make our Internet faster, more secure, and better for consumers fall by the wayside.”
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, made the following statement on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) overreach in its recent net neutrality ruling:
“Mr. President, I rise today as a co-sponsor and strong supporter of this Resolution of Disapproval.
“Once again, we are witnessing government regulation that we do not need. There is a reason that when we talk about today’s economy, we talk about the costliness of government overreach. Unnecessary regulations put a wet blanket on job creation, and they work against getting our economy back on track. This is a perfect example of the government standing in the way of growth and investment.
“The Internet and its associated applications should be allowed to develop without excessive FCC red tape. The Internet owes a great deal of its rapid success to innovators and entrepreneurs who had the freedom to imagine, explore, and create. With the FCC acting as a traffic cop, this freedom will be compromised.
“The subjective rules of the road as laid out by the FCC are a prescription for uncertainty within the industry. By handing over more power to a government agency, net neutrality rules slam the brakes on potential investment and new innovation. The ideas that could make our Internet faster, more secure, and better for consumers fall by the wayside.
“At the end of the day, Mr. President, the American consumer would suffer. The broadband marketplace would simply offer fewer services, fewer devices, and less content to paying customers.
“The Order reads that Internet providers “shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.” It goes on to say that providers “shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.”
“But the terms “lawful” and “reasonable” are not easily defined. Under the Order, what is lawful and what is reasonable would be subject to the whims of unelected bureaucrats. The FCC would rule as a de facto police of the open and free Internet. It would be the final arbiter of what broadband service providers can and cannot do. Its judgments – not the market or the consumer – would determine how networks should be managed. The FCC is claiming to have authority that the American public did not grant it.
“The hands of Internet service providers are tied when the FCC has this kind of power. Without being able to run their own networks, service providers cannot maximize the online experience for the vast majority of their customers. They are – in essence – prevented from doing what they were established to do.
“Equally troubling is that the Commission’s Order is trying to fix a problem that does not exist. Today’s consumers have greater access to more Internet services than ever before. Businesses have invested tens of billions of dollars in new broadband infrastructure. Internet entrepreneurs continue to offer new services to broadband users. There is no economic justification for this unprecedented intrusion into the marketplace. Policy should benefit the public, and these FCC rules do not.
“We have seen this movie before in Washington. We have a regulatory recipe that would produce far-reaching and damaging effects. The current landscape has allowed the Internet to grow exponentially. It is a free market of competition, productivity, and job growth. The FCC’s regulatory intrusion is completely unwarranted.
“We need to pass this Resolution of Disapproval. We need to stop the power grabs by unelected bureaucrats, and we need to put an end to unnecessary job-crushing regulations that are stifling our economy.”
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