Here’s Why H.R. 2666 Matters
Over a year ago, I introduced H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act. The bill originated from a need to clarify the limits of the power the FCC leadership granted themselves in their Title II-based Open Internet rules. Chairman Wheeler and President Obama assured Congress and the American people that they would not use this newly granted authority to regulate rates on broadband access, but nothing in law stops them, any future FCC or future President from changing course with no notice. Taking their promise one step further, I drafted and introduced legislation that would put that promise into law. Plain and simple.
The federal government has never been in the business of regulating the retail rates of broadband services, and the Internet marketplace has thrived due to the innovation and competition that has occurred as a result. It is for that reason I believe we should enshrine into law that the federal government should not dictate the prices that companies charge for broadband service. This bill would ensure that the FCC will not be, now nor in the future, in the business of setting the rates of private companies through tariffs or after-the-fact regulations.
Months ago, this was a bipartisan bill. Interest groups have since crept their way into the Democrat offices in Washington and effectively changed the view of this bill. Democrats say they agree that the FCC should not regulate broadband rates but yet they want big government to maintain the control. Seems conflicting, doesn’t it?
Since its inception, the Internet has been free from rate regulation and we have all seen it thrive in that open environment. My intention with this bill was to protect companies and their consumers by allowing them to innovate, create new products, and provide better services to benefit their customers. I’m proud of this bill and proud to have bipartisan support of my colleagues in the House and the support of those in the communications technology community:
“There is no authority or need for the federal government to regulate the Internet. Today, Congress took action to ensure that the Internet remains a free market. This initiative blocks unelected bureaucrats in Washington from dictating how people use the Internet. I applaud Rep. Kinzinger for his leadership on this legislation that protects Americans’ Internet freedom.” — Speaker Paul D. Ryan, U.S. House of Representatives
“Broadband should be regulated like most other industries: through antitrust and consumer-protection laws. That’s a better model for regulation — one that doesn’t give up on competition.” — Brian Szoka, President of TechFreedom (Wall Street Journal)
“A law banning government interference with retail broadband access rates would give smaller broadband providers greater confidence when deciding on making investments or seeking financing on reasonable terms and conditions.” — Matt Polka, President of American Cable Association (Multichannel News)
“The No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, H.R. 2666, would ensure that the Obama administration upholds a promise to not regulate broadband rates that was made when Internet access was reclassified under Title II of the Communications Act.” — Ripon Advance News Service
“The Kinzinger bill called [Chairman Wheeler’s] bluff, forcing him (and the White House) to admit that the neutrality rules were no light-touch regulatory scheme. Instead, they imposed the most comprehensive price controls ever placed on this dynamic marketplace.” — James Gattuso, The Daily Signal
“Even in the wireless space that Chairman Wheeler has repeatedly touted as his model for broadband regulation, past precedent makes clear that the commission will inevitably be required to review and pass judgment on broadband rates.” — Daniel Lyons, Tech Policy Daily