On November 17th, all five FCC commissioners are scheduled to appear at a Congressional hearing during which they will discuss the Commission’s work including the upcoming incentive auction and the open Internet order passed earlier this year. This hearing is a very important opportunity for Congress to ensure the FCC’s recent actions on these issues serve the interests of the American people and our economy.
The economic landscape has changed drastically over the past few decades. Advances in technology and broadband are changing consumer demand, and businesses and entrepreneurs must evolve in order to compete and thrive in today’s marketplace. However, current FCC regulations are failing to keep up with these changes, and as a result are interfering with competitive industries’ efforts to innovate and grow.
For business owners, access to high-speed broadband enables increased efficiency of business operations, improved customer service, reduced cost, and the ability to reach new customers and markets. Entrepreneurs also gain the flexibility to start and grow their businesses, whether they are working from an office, their home, or on the move.
The benefits of today’s broadband technology exist because of the hands-off regulatory approach the government applied to the Internet over twenty years ago. This framework has a proven record of increasing private investment in new networks, enabling innovation to thrive, and expanding access to the highest quality broadband services to more consumers and businesses.
Unfortunately, the FCC could hurt this track record of success by changing course and adopting old regulations that were meant for the old telephone monopoly. By saddling the Internet with price regulation micromanagement, among other things, the FCC is discouraging companies from building out their broadband infrastructures. Similar policies have failed in Canada and the European Union.
The FCC’s regulatory overreach is a high-risk gamble. It puts consumers and businesses in harm’s way, risking the choice and lower costs we have experienced and benefitted from in the modern, broadband-connected world. Instead, we need to maintain the long-held, light touch policy. This approach will generate even more innovation and investment in our broadband infrastructure, crucial for business owners throughout the country.
Congress needs to hold the FCC to a high standard this Tuesday and ensure its actions help foster an innovative and competitive business environment. This is the only way wants to provide consumers and business owners with access to the high-quality, affordable broadband services they need, while helping to grow our overall economy.