NTF issue paper: telecom11.doc. 2-15.


BACKGROUND. The Obama head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a worrisome plan to subject Internet service to the same regulatory rules as phone service. Liberals want to classify the Internet as a public utility, thereby giving the federal government authority to closely regulate it. New regulations would target wired and wireless residential and commercial Internet service on computers and mobile devices like smartphones. This proposal despite two federal court rulings that nullified these proposed FCC rules.

MAJOR PROBLEMS. Many specific details secreted from the public. Two Republicans on the FCC declare that its chairman has not given the public the full truth about the regulation consequences, higher Internet connection prices for consumers and fewer incentives for provider companies to invest in upgrading their networks. The FCC has a Democrat majority that will do the bidding of President Obama and pass these rules over the objection of 2 conservatives. The FCC chairman frequently terms the new regs as “the president’s plan.” The Obama Regime controlling the Internet would stifle free speech, commerce, and its innovation future. Now, anyone can launch a new website without obtaining permission from a government regulator. New Obama rules would allow the FCC to rule on Internet charges and practices and closely regulate management prerogatives and business arrangements, plus set consumer rates. Entrenched companies could stifle possible competition by hiring attorneys to lobby the FCC. They could object to a service serving only specific regions. They could complain to the feds that one company charging consumers less because of advertising benefits is unfair competition. Consumers could lose access to tremendous values, such as downloading music and e-books. Free texting and delivery of bandwidth-intensive video could face restriction. Regulators might micromanage Google or other search engines, stating that such companies use telecommunications to link to other sites. Social media like Facebook and Twitter and email services would face federal regulation and taxes like phone systems. Mobile phone users would face higher taxes.  Future application of these rules would expand FCC authority to determine your phone bill amount and impose new taxes. These regs would prevent Internet businesses from paying for improved performance service even if needed for their work. Strict rules would deter the development of applications and content that require these improved services. The FCC could select winners and losers, entrenching incumbents that could boost their revenues at the expense of emerging companies that bring innovation. These rules would transform large Internet providers into super-regulated monopolies. Rule implementation could impede progress in technology policy areas, cybersecurity, and allocation of the wireless spectrum. The rules prohibit broadband service providers from prioritizing content that consumers want and that prevent child porn peddlers from having easy access to our homes and children.

BACKLASH. Conservative groups and commercial providers are fighting back. They contend that the Internet economy has flourished and grown, because it is mostly free of government regulation, that self-policing has prevented abuses without burdensome federal rules. Private companies have built the Internet by their investing and constructing networks and infrastructure. Conservative Sen. John Thune (S.D.) and conservative Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.) have sponsored legislation to guarantee a free Internet and prevent the FCC from subjugating it. Over 2.4 million citizens signed letters to prevent the FCC takeover of the Internet. This feedback proves that the American people do not want Internet regulation, despite the Obama FCC claim to the contrary. Conservatives, led by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (UT.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.), have launched an investigation into White House interference in the process and its use of this power grab as a political rallying cry to mobilize lagging supporters. The two demand copies of communications between the White House and FCC pertaining to how the rules became promulgated. Suspicious is that the FCC chairman first proposal in May, 2014 did not include these regs, saying that such action a last resort for the FCC. The FCC is supposedly an independent agency. NE Sen. Ben Sasse strongly opposes the plan, comparing it to Internet censorship overseas. Conservative Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a bill to permanently ban FCC jurisdiction over the Internet. His bill would strip FCC of its Section 706 regulatory authority over telecommunications services that affect the Internet, thereby leaving the agency unable to enforce its own plan. Cruz stated that Internet freedom has produced widespread free speech for billions, an incubator for entrepreneurs to create jobs and economic opportunities, decrying that a 5-member bureaucracy should not dictate how Internet services provide millions of Americans with choices. Cruz prefers that Congress, not an unelected bureaucracy, lead on modernizing telecom laws. Other conservatives threaten to defund the FCC over this issue; Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN.) fears that the FCC, if successful, will subject Americans to the same economic horrors as Obama Care. Conservative lawmakers also could use the Congressional Review Act to kill the regs. This law permits Congress to terminate major rules issued by federal agencies. An American Enterprise Institute telecom policy expert explained that such FCC regulations are necessary, only if free markets experience failure, yet the current broadband market provides good service. Internet service providers are lobbying Congress diligently and advertising heavily, having given up on the 3-member Democrat FCC majority. On the Obama team are leftist Sens. Al Franken (Minn.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), trying to block conservative efforts.

TAKE ACTION NOW. Conservatives do not want their Internet speed to move at the speed of the federal government. If you have a problem with your local Internet provider, you can contact the company. Under new FCC rules, you would contact a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. to complain. Contact your congressman and 2 senators today to pass legislation to nullify the Obama Internet rules and take steps instead to increase competition among current monopolies.

NE Congressional Contact Information

Congressman Brad Ashford
House of Representatives
107 Cannon Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-4155
Fax: 202-226-5452
7126 Pacific Street
Omaha, NE 68106
Phone: 402-916-5678

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

House of Representatives
1514 Longworth Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515-2701
Phone: 202-225-4806
Fax: 202-225-5686
301 South 13 St. #100
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: 402-438-1598
Fax: 402-438-1604
125 South 4 St. #101
Norfolk, NE 68701
Phone: 402-379-2064
Fax: 402-379-2101

Congressman Adrian Smith

House of Representatives
2241 Rayburn Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-6435
Fax: 202-225-0207
1811 West 2 St. #275
Grand Island, NE 68803
Phone: 308-384-3900
Fax: 308-384-3902
416 Valley View Dr. #600
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Phone: 308-633-6333
Fax: 308-633-6335

Honorable Ben Sasse

U.S. Senate
B40E Dirksen Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-4224
Fax: 202-228-0436
115 Railway St. #C102
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Phone: 308-632-6032
287 Federal Bldg.
100 Centennial Mall No.
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: 402-476-1400
Phone: 402-476-1400
4111 4th Ave.#26
Kearney, NE 68845

Honorable Deb Fischer

U.S. Senate
383 Russell Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510-2706
Phone: 202-224-6551
Fax: 202-228-1325
11819 Miracle Hills Dr.
Omaha, NE 68154
Phone: 402-391-3411
Fax: 402-391-4725
440 North 8 St. #120
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: 402-441-4600
Fax: 402-476-8753
20 West 23 St.
Kearney, NE 68847

Research, analysis, and documentation for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the Nebraska Conservative Coalition Network. 2-15. C

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