Skip to main content

Digital Liberty blog

FCC Enacts New 5G Ready Rule. By Katie McAuliffe | March 22, 2018

Today the FCC voted 3-2 to enact a rule that walks back archaic barriers to next generation networks. To get America 5G ready, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced a plan to remove a major hurdle to 5G deployment. This plan will change FCC rules to exclude small wireless facilities from the environmental and historic review procedures designed for large macrocell deployments. 


Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty had the following statement:


Digital Liberty wants to thank Commissioner Brendan Carr for his leadership in making America #5GReady. He has worked diligently to walk back unnecessary regulations that add significant costs that slowed down our infrastructure growth, adding significant costs, and reducing deployment of this critical technology.

Brendan Carr Connects the Dots for the #5GReady plan By Jonathan Cannon | March 13, 2018

There is a currently a lot of buzz revolving around 5G networks. Providers are teasing the idea of having wireless broadband available almost anywhere, with better speeds, and greater access than any fixed network currently in place. From the internet of things, self-driving cars, and more; 5G has the potential to be the biggest technological advancement of the 21st century.

To get America 5G ready, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced a plan to remove a major hurdle to 5G deployment. This plan seeks to change FCC rules to exclude small wireless facilities from the environmental and historic review procedures designed for large macrocell deployments. Commissioner Carr pioneered this plan to streamline approval of small cells by reclassifying their installation so they are no longer considered an “undertaking” under National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) or a “major federal actions” under National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). 

Senate Needs to Get Into Gear on the AV START Act By Jonathan Cannon | March 09, 2018

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Gary Peters (D-Mich) have introduced a bipartisan bill to pave the road towards highly automated vehicles (HAVs). The American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act “proposes common sense changes in law to keep pace with advances in self-driving technology.”

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee unanimously approved the AV START Act last October. This legislation should be immediately considered as it has the opportunity to save thousands of lives.

In 2016, car accidents killed 37,000 people, 94% of these fatalities were caused by human error.  Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce or eliminate these accidents that claim far too many American lives. The advanced vehicle technologies being developed have the potential to reduce the number of crashes, while expanding mobility for people with disabilities, seniors, and those looking for more affordable transportation.

9th Circuit Hands A Big Win to The FTC, Putting Another Nail in Title II’s Coffin By Jonathan Cannon | February 28, 2018

The left said the FTC couldn’t protect consumers from so-called net neutrality violations. The 9th Circuit has now said otherwise.

On February 27th, the 9th Circuit en banc released a ruling in Federal Trade Commission v. AT&T Mobility LLC.  In this case, the court was asked to determine whether the FTC could challenge a service provider’s conduct under the FTC Actand the agency’s consumer harm and deceptive practice framework.  The FTC Act protects consumers against deceptive acts or practices but has an exemption for “common carrier” services.

In 2007, AT&T offered customers an unlimited data plan for a flat fee. In 2010, AT&T stopped offering these plans and instead offered “tiered” data plans. AT&T allowed those with unlimited data to keep their plansbut slowed down customers’ speeds if they exceeded a certain data cap. The FTC challenged AT&T’s failure to properly disclose this practice.

Restoring Internet Freedom Order Entered Into Federal Register By Katie McAuliffe | February 22, 2018

Today the Restoring Internet Freedom order was entered into the Federal Register, closing the book on the failed Title II experiment.  The FCC has finally taken steps to correct a mistake it made by passing utility style restrictions over the Internet, by returning to the open and transparent internet ecosystem.

The Restoring Internet Freedom Order does little new; it returns jurisdiction to the FTC, and mandates transparency disclosures to empower the FTC to challenge actions by both service and edge providers under it exists consumer welfare standards.


The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:


Digital Liberty is relieved that the RIF Order is finally a part of the Federal Register. It is critical that the FCC work with to ensure that consumers are protected. Chairman Pai’s hard work and commitment to restoring a free and open internet in the face of threats and harm is truly commendable. We thank the chairman for his dedication and commitment to restoring internet freedom. 

Don’t Tread on My Internet: Why the best place for the government in the 5G race is on the sidelines. By Jonathan Cannon | January 30, 2018

A recent news article suggested a nationalized 5G deployment in order to keep up in the race to bring about 5G networks. This idea was predicated on national security and defense. The premise of the argument was that to remain competitive and safe, The United States must be the first to implement this new technology. Fortunately, this is nothing more than a bad idea and was criticized by all members of the Federal Communications Commission.

As chairman Pai has said, “the market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment.” His mantra for a competitive market driven approach is the best course forward to ensure the fastest and most effective roll out of 5G. 4G exploded as a result of the major carriers working tirelessly to provide the first, fastest, and largest service area for their 4G LTE services. Competition pushed the companies to provide the service at a competitive price to consumers. If 5G is going to be the dominant technology we expect it to be, competition, not government take over is the answer

The Congressional Review Act is not the Answer to Title II Repeal By Jonathan Cannon | January 22, 2018

The founding fathers drafted the Constitution to create a more perfect republic. The cornerstone of this ideal is the separation of powers, which gives each branch distinct and unique powers. A legislative branch to create law, and an executive to enforce. As the federal government has grown, these lines have blurred as executive agencies have asserted legislative power.

Coalition Letter Supporting the Restoring Internet Freedom Order

Internet Freedom Survives Cyber Bullies By | December 14, 2017

For years—including throughout much of the Clinton Administration—taxpayers and consumers enjoyed an FCC that for the most part accepted its mission within the confines of the law. Since the Telecommunications Act was passed in 1996, the technology sector flourished and was allowed to innovate as a result of a light-touch regulatory policy.


The previous FCC ignored input from its own economists, stumbling toward a world of Soviet-style government-run regulatory maze with an FCC-mandated toll booth around every corner.


But today, under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC voted to Restore Internet Freedom, and removed the Title II framework that would hamstring future innovation.


Government Shouldn't Wreck the "Grand Bargain" for Internet Data By Bret Baker | December 05, 2017

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, along with the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, held a hearing on algorithms and their impact on consumers. As citizens' data is increasingly used by companies to improve their services, lawmakers want to have a better idea of what and how this information is used. This unfamiliarity, however, isn’t stopping some from looking to scratch that regulatory itch.

Throughout the hearing, there was bipartisan concern for data protection and the blocking of content online and the First Amendment issues relating to that. Though the hearing was on the impact of algorithms, members of both parties brought up the impact in relation to the FCC’s upcoming vote on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order

Title II is Not Net Neutrality By Bret Baker | November 28, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission, in a bold move that breaks from a tradition of secrecy, released the text of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIF) weeks before they plan to vote on the final order at their December meeting. RIF will return the classification of Internet service providers (ISPs) to being a Title I information service. This would undo the destructive work of the Obama FCC and restore light-touch regulations that played a major role in the internet’s growth in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Removing fanatical and cumbersome regulations will allow the internet to continue to evolve and grow the world economy, but that isn’t stopping ideologues from doing all they can to prevent this reclassification from taking place.

The primary way protesters are going about undermining the FCC’s vote are by muddying the waters about what would happen because of the reclassification. By framing the upcoming vote as undoing “net neutrality” and leaving it at that, protesters narrowly and disingenuously define what net neutrality even is.