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Comm. Pai's Stmt on President Obama's Plan to Regulate the Internet

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Released: February 6, 2015
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NEWS

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: (202) 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: (888) 835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.

See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

February 6, 2015

Matthew Berry (202) 418-2005

Email: Matthew.Berry@fcc.gov

STATEMENT OF FCC COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PLAN TO REGULATE THE INTERNET

Last night, Chairman Wheeler provided his fellow Commissioners with President Obama’s 332-

page plan to regulate the Internet. I am disappointed that the plan will not be released publicly. The FCC

should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself and post the entire document on its website.

Instead, it looks like the FCC will have to pass the President’s plan before the American people will be

able to find out what’s really in it.

In the coming days, I look forward to continuing to study the plan in detail. Based on my initial

examination, however, several points are apparent.

First, President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the

Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.

It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, decide the future

of the online world. It’s no wonder that net neutrality proponents are already bragging that it will turn the

FCC into the “Department of the Internet.” For that reason, if you like dealing with the IRS, you are

going to love the President’s plan.

Second, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will increase consumers’ monthly

broadband bills. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband.

Indeed, states have already begun discussions on how they will spend the extra money. These new taxes

will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.

Third, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will mean slower broadband for

American consumers. The plan contains a host of new regulations that will reduce investment in

broadband networks. That means slower Internet speeds. It also means that many rural Americans will

have to wait longer for access to quality broadband.

Fourth, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will hurt competition and

innovation and move us toward a broadband monopoly. The plan saddles small, independent

businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market. As a

result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to

regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated

monopoly is what we’ll get. We shouldn’t bring Ma Bell back to life in this dynamic, digital age.

Fifth, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is an unlawful power grab. Courts

have twice thrown out the FCC’s attempts at Internet regulation. There’s no reason to think that the third

time will be the charm. Even a cursory look at the plan reveals glaring legal flaws that are sure to mire

the agency in the muck of litigation for a long, long time.

And sixth, the American people are being misled about what is in President Obama’s plan

to regulate the Internet. The rollout earlier in the week was obviously intended to downplay the plan’s

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massive intrusion into the Internet economy. Beginning next week, I look forward to sharing with the

public key aspects of what this plan will actually do.

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