On January 20, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee and their counterparts on the House Energy and Commerce Committee received a letter from a collection of organizations and individuals asking Congress to prevent the FCC from regulating the Internet. The letter expressed a widespread concern over the attempt made by the FCC to reclassify the internet under Title II of the Communications Act.
In the letter, organizations express their worries of unintended consequences of legislation. However, legislation seems to be the only way to stop the FCC from trying to impose Title II of the Communications Act on the Internet. According to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty, Americans will see increased fees on their Internet Bills.
Norquist said: “The FCC’s proposal to classify broadband as a Title II service would make broadband subject to New Deal-era regulation, and U.S. taxpayers could pay another $15 billion in fees annually.”
McAuliffe said: “Reclassification done by the FCC likely means new fees without a Congressional vote. The short term passage of the Internet Tax Freedom Act only protects Internet users from taxes, not fees.”
The Internet grew under the regulatory classification as integrated data and transmission service. As the coalition notes: “Title II was developed for the telephone monopoly of the 1930s; it is utterly inappropriate for the dynamic Internet ecosystem. Invoking Title II threatens both to impose billions of dollars of taxes and fees on consumers, undermine broadband investment, and drag “edge” companies into a regulatory morass.”
Americans for Tax Reform and Digital Liberty urge the FCC will withstand outside pressure to move forward with rules, especially while Congress is going through the legislative process.