FCC Reinstates Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Democratic majority voted 3-2 to restore the Obama-era net neutrality rules.

The net neutrality rules require internet service providers (ISP) to allow access to all content and applications at the same time, without favoring or blocking products or websites.

In other words, all internet is treated equally and does not allow a website to pay to have its content prioritized.

“Net neutrality is just Bidenomics for the internet and a government takeover of the web that is not needed,” according to a video shared by Americans for Prosperity.

Americans for Prosperity senior policy analyst James Czerniawski said in a statement that the vote is a “net loss for Americans.”

“Net neutrality is Bidenomics for the web – an expensive government takeover of the internet that would increase costs, limit choice, and stifle innovation. Despite claims that the world would end without these burdensome internet rules, the contrary occurred.”

He added that since 2017, internet speeds have “increased, prices have gone down, and consumers have more options than ever before. Rather than bringing back a partisan scheme that makes our internet worse, the FCC should be focused on restoring its spectrum authority and working to close the digital divide.”

The Obama-era rules were repealed under the Trump administration.

FCC Commissioner Brandan Carr condemned the rule restoration, calling it an “unlawful power grab.”

“The FCC just voted 3-2 in favor of President Biden’s plan for increasing government control of the Internet,” he wrote on X. “It’s an unlawful power grab sold in the name of ‘net neutrality.’”

U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) also led a bicameral coalition urging the FCC to “abandon” its net neutrality draft order.

In a letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the members of Congress wrote, “Congress’s decision to treat broadband Internet access as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service, was a deliberate policy choice. Congress recognized that ‘[t]he Internet and other interactive computer services have flourished, to the benefit of all Americans, with a minimum of government regulation,’ and accordingly decreed that it ‘is the policy of the United States … to promote the continued development of the internet and other interactive computer services … [and] to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’”

The letter explained that the rules give the FCC “largely unfettered power to impose (and allow states to impose) rate regulation, tariffing requirements, unbundling obligations, entry and exit regulation, and taxation of broadband—the antithesis of leaving broadband ‘unfettered’ by regulation as the law requires.”