WASHINGTON, D.C.– House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers released the following statement after the Federal Communication Commission’s vote to roll back heavy-handed Title II regulations put into place by the Obama administration.
“I support an open Internet, but there is a better way to ensure consumer protections without disrupting the free flow of information and innovation that has made it a cornerstone of the 21st Century economy. The heavy-handed rules from the Obama administration stifled investment in rural communities, like those in Eastern Washington, and created uncertainty for ISPs in meeting the requirements of those rules. What I want is for everyone to come to the table to find a bipartisan, legislative solution that will protect consumers while not harming investment, innovation, and free-market principles.”
NOTE: The Obama-era rules reclassified Internet governance as a utility according to a 1934 statute. The vote today by the FCC will return Internet governance to the way it was prior to 2015, under which the Internet grew and expanded and became what it is today. In a recent letter from 63 small broadband providers around the country, they said “Since the Commission reclassified broadband as public utility in 2015, investment hasbeen heading in the wrong direction.” The Obama-era rules created significant regulatory uncertainty for the companies deploying and maintaining broadband networks. In fact, when asked by members of Congress, former FCC Chairman Wheeler could not clearly identify what a violation of the rule’s general conduct standard would be. This uncertainty resulted in less consumer choice, innovation, and broadband development.
According to a recent economic analysis, domestic broadband capital expansion declined by $3.6 billion in the years since these heavy-handed regulations were implemented, a 5.6 percent decline relative to 2014 levels.