Restoring A Light FCC Touch To Internet Regulations

Ajit Pai, Washington Times

Over the last two weeks, there has been a vigorous debate about internet regulation. Under the plan I recently proposed, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would restore internet freedom by rolling back heavy-handed government regulations imposed during the Obama administration. Some have tried to whip Americans into a frenzy by making outlandish claims. Feeding the hysteria are silly accusations that the plan will “end the internet as we know it” or threaten American democracy itself.

These claims obscure a pretty mundane truth: This plan would simply restore the successful, light-touch regulatory framework that governed the internet from 1996 to 2015. And importantly, it would get the government out of the business of micromanaging the internet.

Back in the 1990s, President Clinton and a Republican Congress made an incredibly important decision. They made it the policy of the United States “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exist[ed] for the internet unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”

That approach worked wonders. The private sector invested more than $1.5 trillion to build out communications networks throughout the United States. Entrepreneurs used this open platform to start companies that have become global giants. And America’s internet economy became the envy of the world.

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