Internet Freedom: One Year Later

By at 12 June, 2019, 11:40 am

Thanks to FCC Action, the Internet is doing better than ever

By Karen Kerrigan-

It did not explode, it remains open, and did not meet an immediate demise following policy action by a federal regulatory agency. In fact, “it” is thriving and more people are benefitting this magnificent innovation.

What is “it”?  The broadband internet.

About a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” took effect.  Activists opposed to removing inappropriate and backward government rules (Title II regulation), as prescribed by the order, said advancing the order and allowing it to go into effect would be “the end of the internet as we know it.”

But guess what happened when the FCC removed this intrusive government overreach? The internet is doing better than ever.

●  Internet speeds are up – 35.8 percent for downloads and 22 percent for uploads.

●  Fiber deployment hit record highs in 2018.

●  Broadband capital investment increased by $3 billion in 2018 (reversing the significant declines in 2015 and 2016.)

●  Internet communities are thriving, and there are very, very few incidences of “blocking and throttling.”

If undermining investment, access to speedy broadband and innovation is not bad enough, a report by Rysavy Research  – “How Title II Net Neutrality Undermines 5G” – finds that  regulatory overreach will prevent innovative new technologies from emerging within the 5G ecosystem. While the FCC is thankfully moving forward with rules that are helping to accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure, this momentum could be threatened by a Title II comeback. If these rules were in place, the U.S. would lose “the race to 5G” and the benefits of this technology. Title II regulation compromises the deployment of the most advanced and most secure wireless infrastructure in the world.

(See: How the “Save the Internet Act” Breaks 5G, Bloomberg Op-ed, May 30, 2019.)

Some in Congress are Not Giving Up

Despite the positive news regarding higher investment, greater connectivity, and faster broadband speeds, some in Congress are not giving up their quest to fully regulate the internet.    The U.S. House passed the “Save the Internet Act” in April, and supporters of the bill continue their campaign to advance the unneeded and misguided legislation through the Senate.

Excessive regulation is never good for small businesses, and it’s never appropriate when not warranted.  Our organization applauds the leadership of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for standing firm and doing the right thing for our economy and small business. Allowing the broadband internet to reach its full potential through “light touch” regulation has proven to be the correct approach.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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