Latta: Room for Consensus Exists on Net Neutrality; Title II Classification is Overly Burdensome
Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, highlighted the importance of finding bipartisan consensus on the contentious net neutrality issue at a subcommittee hearing this morning. At the hearing, Latta announced that he had introduced net neutrality legislation that he believes could gain bipartisan support. It’s based on legislation introduced by former Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and does not use the Title II framework that can be overly burdensome and harm investment. Video of Congressman Latta’s opening remarks is available here at 20:30.
Latta said about the bill, “Like most attempts over the years in Congress and the FCC alike, the bill focuses on the potential behaviors of concern, namely, blocking, throttling, and discriminatory practices. What it does not include is the drastic, outlier measure of reclassifying broadband into Title II, the part of statute meant to regulate the monopoly telephone carriers of the last century. Title II is from the era of this antique that was used by my family before telephones even had rotary dials.
“And the phones weren’t all that was heavy about Title II. Title II carries with it close to 1000 common carrier regulations, a nightmare of government micromanagement, both for the providers bringing the power of the Internet into our pockets on devices like these and for their customers alike. Reversing the consensus on classification made by Chairmen Powell, Martin, and Genachowski, the FCC dropped the anvil of Title II onto broadband providers in 2015. At the time, the FCC did forbear from applying over 700 of those regulations to broadband service, at least temporarily. But that just begs the question of why anyone still views Title II as a critical component to net neutrality legislation, instead of complete overkill.”
Latta continued, “In fact, since the reversal of the 2015 Open Internet Order, the internet has continued to remain open and free. Americans have not been restricted from freely searching, posting, or streaming content. It’s clear that Title II is not needed to protect consumer access to the internet.”