Heartland Institute Experts React to FCC’s New Net Neutrality Proposal

April 24, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed new net neutrality regulations that would prevent broadband providers from blocking or slowing access to Web sites or services. The rule, however, also allows broadband providers to enter into “commercially reasonable” deals with some content providers. Those arrangements would be decided by the FCC on a case-by-case basis.

The following statements from technology policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“This is a perfect example of the Obama administration’s approach to governance. Although it appears that the FCC is walking back a little on its net neutrality obsession, the proposed rules would clearly allow the commission a good deal of latitude in deciding when and how to step in, which is the worst kind of government regulation. It allows favoritism, arbitrary decisions, and great possibilities for rewarding of political supporters and harassment of political enemies.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute

“It’s disappointing – but not surprising – that the Obama administration is yet again going to impose the Internet power grab that is network neutrality.

“The federal government is twice bitten, and not shy. Having twice had their net neutrality impositions unanimously rejected by the courts, they remain undaunted in their desire to over-regulate the Web. And it’s always a pleasure to watch the leftist ‘public advocacy’ groups freak out. The leftist screeching allows an overreaching government to pretend that it’s finding a ‘middle ground’ while they grab even more parts of the digital private sector.”

Seton Motley
President, Less Government
Policy Advisor, Telecom
The Heartland Institute

“This ‘half a loaf’ solution is better than the strict net neutrality regulations the FCC has tried to get away with in the past, but it’s not better by much. Owners of broadband networks still have to play the game of ‘Mother, May I’ to innovate and experiment with different business models. That will only slow down the growth of ever-more exciting services at low, competitive prices.

“Free-market forces, not government direction, spawned the wonder that is the digital economy. If the FCC was in control a decade ago, streaming television over broadband would still just be a crazy idea – and one that would never work because government bureaucrats would be standing in the way.”

Jim Lakely
Co-Director, Center on the Digital Economy
Director of Communications
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.