PFF was fortunate enough to get a letter-to-the-editor published in the NY Times this weekend, responding to the paper's call for broad Net Neutrality rules which would regulate broadband services.
To the Editor:
In "The F.C.C. and the Internet" (editorial, April 19), you ignore two important facts to arrive at your sweeping conclusion that the Federal Communications Commission must regulate the Internet to ensure its health and growth.
Over the last five years alone, American companies -- incentivized by the absence of Internet regulation -- have invested more than half a trillion dollars to build broadband infrastructure. Consequently, this has exploded broadband choice and access, boosting jobs, productivity and commerce, as well as other important societal-civic benefits, for more than 90 percent of America. This growth will continue, fostered by vibrant competition among cable, wireless, wire line and other evolving means.
It is understandable that you ignore the second fact: it reveals an inconvenient truth. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which put Internet services outside of 75-year-old telephone regulations, was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by a Democratic president, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner. The Bush-era regulatory changes, which ensure that Internet services get treated in accord with the law, only followed through on the pro-deregulatory, pro-marketplace intent of the law.
America's Internet thrives. It does so because of less regulation, not more. The F.C.C.'s plan to regulate the Internet will hurt average Americans by limiting choice and thwarting expansion of new services and options.
Washington, April 19, 2010
The writer is vice president of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a think tank that takes support from the information technology, telecom, wireless, media, cable and content industries.