Last year’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unshackled internet providers from the Obama-era Title II internet regulations that caused investment in internet infrastructure to plummet and threatened the future of American technological development. Thanks to the FCC’s action, infrastructure investment and broadband speeds are up across the United States. Unfortunately, some big-government activists are resorting to hail-mary tactics across multiple channels to try to reintroduce the archaic rules that would ultimately hurt consumers and taxpayers.
First, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Mozilla v. FCC, in which proponents of Title II regulation are claiming that the FCC’s RIFO is illegal and amounts to an abdication of the FCC’s core duties. The activists are effectively claiming that the status quo for internet regulation that existed from the early days of the internet until the FCC’s order in 2015 was illegal - an astounding and sweeping claim in light of the growth and proliferation and success of that internet regulation regime.
As the American Enterprise Institute’s Roslyn Layton wrote in reference to this case, “Agencies can change policy provided they are reasonable and follow procedure.” The FCC reinstituted the rules under which the internet flourished and followed agency procedures to the letter. In 2018, when Title II regulations on the internet were finally repealed, fixed broadband speeds rose across the U.S. by almost 40%, according to internet speed test company Ookla in their report on the state of broadband in the United States.
Mozilla v. FCC is nothing more than a desperate ploy to establish a regulatory stranglehold on internet technology innovation.
National Taxpayers Union has written in the past on the deleterious effects of Title II regulations on consumers and taxpayers in particular. Big-government activists looking to revive the Title II regime are ignoring the mountain of evidence that these regulations stifled innovation harmed consumers and threatened taxpayers. One year after their repeal, investment is flourishing, internet speeds are up across the board, and groundbreaking broadband innovations are right around the corner. The timely end of Title II regulations was a good thing for taxpayers, and these revival attempts should be dismissed as anti-empirical desperation.