FCC Votes to Revive Failed Obama Era Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to return to a controversial Obama era internet regulation. The FCC voted 3-2 on partisan grounds to bring back “net neutrality” rules, which would allow the Commission to regulate the way that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) manage data on their networks.
National Taxpayers Union Executive Vice President Brandon Arnold issued the following statement on the FCC’s proposal: 
“When the FCC passed the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order to block onerous net neutrality regulations, detractors famously claimed that we'd get our information ‘one... word... at... a... time.’ Yet, internet speeds have skyrocketed since the order took effect,” Arnold said. “In 2018, average broadband speeds were about 47 Mbps; they have since more than doubled to 110 Mbps. Meanwhile, prices have fallen and access has increased. There is simply no good reason for the FCC to pursue this heavy handed regulatory scheme.”
Advocates of the Title II regime claim that this will prevent the ISPs from prioritizing or throttling any websites or content. However, so-called “net neutrality” - the burdensome Title II rules -  have a  questionable history, to say the least. These rules were rescinded in 2017 under President Trump for being overly burdensome on ISPs. The market already succeeds at providing consumers with fast, affordable, and reliable broadband internet, so the FCC should not be attempting to restore a set of rules marked by slower speeds and reductions in investment. Adopting “net neutrality” rules again means forcing a one-size fits-all approach on all ISPs instead of allowing them to maintain their own distinct consumer models, which already deliver services consumers value and pay for. 
As much as proponents of  Title II rules may try to say they are working on behalf of consumers to ensure a fair and equitable internet, their ideas would actually worsen many of the problems they seek to solve. Treating all data traffic equally, regardless of its size, source, and type would create bottlenecks and throttle speeds, especially at times when many users are using the internet. Under Title II, ISPs could not offer special services to clients to reduce latency or temporarily provide more bandwidth. This would seriously inhibit high demand events such as online gaming or purchasing tickets to popular concerts. Worse, it would all be overseen by the FCC, giving them broad and vaguely defined authority over the internet. The FCC should refrain from bringing back this failed framework. 
If you would like to speak with a member of NTU’s staff on the FCC’s Title II rules and what this vote could mean in the future, please contact NTU Vice President of Communications and Outreach Kevin Glass at 703-683-5700 or kglass@ntu.org.