Warmed-Over Net Neutrality Scheme Will Burn Taxpayers Worse than Ever, NTU Warns

Today Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Jessica Rosenworcel announced plans to pursue a return to harmful and outdated net neutrality rules. History has shown that net neutrality is a flawed policy that the FCC should not pursue again. NTU President Pete Sepp offered the following statement in opposition to the effort, warning that taxpayers will be among those hurt the most:

“In 2017, the FCC wisely decided to enact the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, despite critics’ insistence that the whole online infrastructure would decay in the absence of tighter government regulatory control over Internet service imposed in the Obama era. In fact, that infrastructure grew stronger as the private sector expanded service, upgraded speeds, and boosted America’s online competitiveness relative to our peers abroad. As a result, the U.S. was better prepared for the surge in broadband demand that occurred during the pandemic, and was well-situated to support the gradual return to a post-Covid recovery. No wonder some of President Obama’s top legal officials are now cautioning that reviving old rules to more heavily regulate Internet service would be economically destructive and legally suspect.

With today’s FCC decision to turn back the clock on all this progress, and the doomsayers having been proven wrong, taxpayers have a simple, one-word question: 'Why?' Private broadband investments, along with public-private partnerships to promote connectivity, are saving hard-earned tax dollars, enabling cost-effective technologies such as telemedicine, and improving portals where Americans can interact more efficiently with government agencies. 

Instead, Chair Rosenworcel is plowing ahead with a command-and-control approach that is almost certain to discourage private investment as well as innovation. The result will be all too predictable for the nation’s taxpayers: more calls for already-mismanaged government-owned networks, heavier subsidies paid for by government debt we can no longer afford, and even higher taxes on telecommunications services. 

The NTU-backed Internet Tax Freedom Act, which has protected taxpayers from discriminatory tax policies online, is under attack from revenue-hungry governments like never before. The last thing taxpayers need is another way into their wallets, which the return of net neutrality could very well provide. 

Public officials across all branches of government must carefully consider the real harms that could come from abandoning Internet freedom and embracing heavier regulations. The FCC’s proposal is a nonstarter for taxpayers.”

For more than 20 years, NTU has advocated for taxpayers in the “net neutrality” debate and has alerted policymakers to the dangers of these misguided proposals. For more information, visit ntu.org.