Revisiting Title II: Chairman Pai’s New Tenure at the FCC

Ross Marchand

October 20, 2017

Earlier this month, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) applauded the Senate for reconfirming Chairman Ajit Pai to lead the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Their decision grants Pai the opportunity to continue running the agency with the practical, data-driven leadership taxpayers have benefited from since he became Chairman.

Pai has long been a steward of responsible governance, including a fight for the much-needed elimination of the regulatory red tape and government overreach that is commonplace in Washington. This summer, Chairman Pai once again reaffirmed that commitment by initiating the review and potential roll-back of harmful Title II-utility style regulations currently applied to the internet with the introduction of the Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

The Restoring Internet Freedom proceeding will protect taxpayers and lessen the impact of harmful Obama-era regulations and promote the investment necessary to promote the development of high-speed internet networks in more areas of the country. The proceeding also seeks public comment on new ways to protect open internet principles outside of rigid regulatory regimes.

Repealing Title II will restore the internet to the days when it was absent of excessive government regulation, once again allowing companies to invest in and continue to improve the networks that support our nation’s innovation economy. The repeal of antiquated Title II regulations and requirements will also help preserve American tax dollars instead of pouring them into more taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Title II regulations were designed to regulate the railroad and were never intended to regulate the internet of the 21st century. These regulations have given the government the ability to micromanage business decisions to the point where it is affecting the industry and private investment decisions, potentially slowing the rollout of innovative technologies like 5G wireless networks.

While a vote on the Restoring Internet Freedom proceeding may not occur until early next year, the coming months will give the Commission time to review the public comments submitted during the last several months.  TPA helped millions of individual Americans voice their opinions, urging the FCC to reconsider Title II regulation of the internet. 

During the comment period, there were several institutions both inside and out of the government jeopardized by foreign entities seeking to influence outcomes over the internet.  Therefore, it is important for the FCC to carefully analyze and weigh reports of millions of comments submitted to the Restoring Internet Freedom docket traced to foreign and illegitimate email domains. 

It’s been an exhaustive process but more work remains for the FCC. TPA strongly supports Chairman Pai in his continued effort to review and hopefully repeal the harmful utility regulations currently imposed on the internet, and we encourage the Commission to continue its deliberative approach. Already in his tenure, taxpayers have benefited from Chairman Pai’s sensible leadership, and they will benefit more so if the internet is freed from stifling government over-regulation.