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Press Release

Taxpayer Group Says FCC’s Net Neutrality Power-Grab Threatens Economic Growth, Vibrancy of Internet

December 21, 2010
By Pete Sepp

(Alexandria, VA) – After today’s 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in favor of an order to impose burdensome “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet, Andrew Moylan, Director of Government Affairs for the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), offered the following comments.

“Today is indeed a dark day for taxpayers and consumers, and not just because of the Winter Solstice. The FCC is plowing ahead with ill-advised ‘net neutrality’ regulations that threaten to stifle innovation and development in the one-sixth of our economy that is dependent upon the Internet. This flies in the face of a court ruling telling the FCC that it lacks the requisite regulatory authority to engage in such schemes; furthermore, it openly defies the stated opposition of dozens of Senators and Representatives in both parties who have rightfully asserted that Congress, not the FCC, ought to be making law in this area.

Unfortunately, this politically-motivated order will undermine future investment in both wireline and wireless Internet networks as businesses worry about the impact of a meddling FCC. Furthermore, it could very well encourage future efforts to regulate prices to the satisfaction of political interests rather than underlying economic realities.

This order is not a recipe for continued growth in the extraordinarily vibrant world of the Internet. It is instead a recipe for stagnation, legal challenges, and a battle between the three branches of government. A creature of the Executive Branch has essentially thumbed its collective nose at the Judicial and Legislative Branches, which have been yelling ‘No!’ at the top of their lungs.

Now that it has taken this unprecedented action, the FCC should officially foreclose the draconian option of reclassifying the Internet under Depression-era monopoly telephone rules by closing the Title II docket once and for all. Furthermore, we urge the incoming Congress to utilize its authority under the Congressional Review Act to challenge this unwarranted power-grab by the FCC and restore control of the Internet to its rightful owners: consumers, who can vote with their dollars, and the businesses that compete to earn those dollars.”

NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: additional analyses and commentaries on net neutrality and other telecommunications issues are available at