April 16, 2019
WashEx: Net Neutrality Debate is Really About the Ballooning Regulatory State
House Democrats recently pushed through a bill restoring net neutrality regulations. While most policymakers agree on net neutrality’s basic principles, they disagree on how much discretion the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should have to regulate the Internet, explains AAF’s Will Rinehart in a new article published in the Washington Examiner.
Over the last decade and a half, the FCC has pushed to increase the scope of “network neutrality” to include areas that were never originally contemplated, such as cybersecurity and privacy. Democrats want to enshrine this regulatory “flexibility” in law, allowing the commission to address new technologies without legislation. Republicans, on the other hand, are reluctant to write the FCC a blank check.
In other words, like so many other contemporary issues, the debate over net neutrality is now a dispute about the proper extent and power of the regulatory state. An overview of how internet regulation has evolved over the last several years demonstrates how the debate has shifted, raising the stakes for Congress and the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers.