'Save the Internet Act' debuts, largely panned

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) have introduced a bill dubbed the "Save the Internet Act of 2019," intended to reinstate ...

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) have introduced a bill dubbed the "Save the Internet Act of 2019," intended to reinstate the Obama-era Title II regulation of the Internet that the FCC overturned in 2017. Reaction to the bill thus far has been largely negative, with the NCTA, policy think tanks the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and TechFreedom, and even the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste opposing it. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai opposes it as well.

Tina Pelkey, spokeswoman for Pai, issued the following statement about the bill:

"The FCC's return in 2017 to the bipartisan, light-touch approach to Internet regulation has been a success. This time-tested framework has preserved the free and open Internet. It has promoted transparency in order to better inform consumer choice. It has unleashed private investment, resulting in more fiber being deployed in 2018 than any year before and download speeds increasing by an astounding 36%. And it has proven wrong the many hysterical predictions of doom from 2017, most notably the fantasy that market-based regulation would bring about 'the end of the Internet as we know it.' The Internet in America today is free and vibrant, and the main thing it needs to be saved from is heavy-handed regulation from the 1930s."

Not all reactions have been negative, however. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who supported the Obama-era Title II rules and opposed their later rollback, issued the following statement:

"The FCC was on the wrong side of the law, the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of the American public when it rolled back net neutrality. The FCC's deeply unpopular decision is being challenged in the courts, in statehouses, and in Congress. I applaud the effort announced today to reinstate open Internet rules at the FCC. I'll keep raising a ruckus to support net neutrality, and I'm glad so many others are, too."

In 2015, the FCC - under then-Chairman Tom Wheeler - issued its Open Internet Order, which drew heavily on Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and Part 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to establish utility-style common carrier regulation of the Internet. Objections to the Order at the time included the use of "outdated" 1930s rules in the 21st century, burdensome regulation, and the potential to stifle innovation and investment, among others. Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, an FCC commissioner at the time, opposed the Order and began plans to reverse it after he became FCC chairman in early 2017. The Open Internet Order was officially reversed in December 2017.

More in Home