The Democrats are gearing up again to tackle net neutrality, but this new “Save the Internet Act” is anything but new. This short-sighted policy will threaten market competition for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and will only apply to internet service providers and not big internet companies. It is time for a bipartisan effort to ensure open internet rules that actually protect consumers.
In 2017, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai put an end to Obama era net neutrality regulations. The FCC changed course, reversing the 2015 rules in favor of a regulatory environment that would foster innovation and market competition.
But Democrats responded to this rightful reversal with the same answer they always rely on – more government. Earlier this month Nancy Pelosi unveiled the “Save the Internet Act,” in a misguided attempt to push back against Chairman Pai. Pelosi and the Democrats want to put an end to this era of internet prosperity and free-market liberated internet by once again smothering it with too much government red tape.
In truth, the Save the Internet Act will do more harm than good. It will result in uncertainty and risk that will hurt needed internet and broadband investment—especially harmful in rural areas of our state. It will create unnecessary bureaucracy and burdensome regulation that will impede market competition and remove the choice of internet services and benefits from the consumer. And it won’t go far enough in making sure that these open internet rules apply equally to everyone, especially the big tech companies that have effectively become the gatekeepers to today’s internet.
Fortunately, the Democrats are not the only ones who want a long-term solution for net neutrality. Republican Members of Congress, like Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, believe it’s time for net neutrality regulation too, but are not convinced that the FCC should be responsible for enforcing those regulations. McMorris Rodgers is urging bipartisan support to pass legislation that includes the three “bright line” rules that were part of FCC net neutrality regulations under President Obama, and gives oversight of net neutrality regulation to the Federal Trade Commission.
Many Republicans agree that net neutrality rules are important, and many Democrats too, but letting the government regulate the internet, a crucial highway that contributes to our nation’s economy, is not the answer. Not when the free-market driven internet is successfully promoting competition and investment.
Net neutrality is important for ensuring consumer protection and fair business practices. But we cannot let the Democrats use unnecessary big government to achieve that goal. This is why it is imperative that our strong conservative members of Congress, like Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, stand against the liberal efforts to embarrass the GOP and raise money from their radical base. Congress must vote against the “Save the Internet Act,” and seek a bipartisan solution that is in the best interest of all Americans.
Nansen Malin resides in a small beach community in Southwest Washington and uses technology to operate her business and maintain the involved lifestyle of the big city.