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Eakinomics: Net Neutrality Advocacy Day

Eakinomics: Net Neutrality Advocacy Day

Today is Net Neutrality Advocacy Day for those on the left devoted to restoring the Obama-era Internet regulations. These Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations imposed 1930s-style monopoly telephone regulation on the Internet. Last December, the FCC revisited the rule and rolled back the so-called Title II regulations. Thus, as of June 11, the Internet again was subject to the same regulations that have allowed it to grow dramatically and vibrantly since its birth.

Yet that revocation hasn’t stopped the debate over net neutrality. On May 16, the Senate voted 52-47 in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA, 5 U.S.C. 801) resolution of disapproval voiding the rollback regulations. This show trial was intended to embarrass the FCC, but did not in itself accomplish anything. The Advocacy Day is intended to increase support for the CRA in the House, in the hopes that the disapproval resolution will end up on the desk of the president. The ensuing veto will then mobilize voters for the midterm election, organizers hope.

It is time for this tiresome movie to stop. The fundamental problem has been that the FCC does not have clear authority to regulate the Internet, and the Title II regime is too anachronistic, cumbersome, and intrusive to make any sense. The solution is for Congress to decide on a bipartisan regulatory regime for the Internet, pass legislation, and pass the baton to the FCC to implement this new law.

Today is a good day to advocate for legislation on net neutrality. That legislation just should not be another misuse of the CRA in an attempt to replicate a past regulatory failure. It should be a forward-looking — and real — solution to the net neutrality issue.

Disclaimer

Fact of the Day

OPEC represents approximately 40 percent of the world’s crude oil production, and Russia around 13 percent.