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InfoTech & Telecom

Infotech & Telecom
October 18, 2016
Wikipedia is Broken, Biased, and Corrupt
Left-wing activists have hijacked The Heartland Institute’s profile at Wikipedia, removing objective descriptions of our programs and publications and replacing them with lies, errors, and outright libelous claims.
Taxes
February 21, 2017
Illinois City Lawmaker Calls for Federal Enforcement of Online Taxes
As a research firm warns of a pending economic recession in Decatur, Illinois, a local lawmaker is calling on the federal government to require businesses across the nation to collect and pay state sales taxes on purchases made from other states.
InfoTech & Telecom
February 15, 2017
Ajit Pai Will Return Pro-Consumer Focus at FCC
Unlike the Federal Communications Commission’s previous head, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is putting consumers first, not net neutrality.
More News
InfoTech & Telecom
February 11, 2017
Outdated Telecom Laws Pose a Challenge for Ajit Pai’s FCC
The most modern part of America’s economy – communications – suffers under America’s most out-of-date law and most backward-looking regulation.
InfoTech & Telecom
January 30, 2017
FCC Should Sunset Set-Top Box Provision Because Market is Fully Competitive
The latest FCC rule was a wise, pro-competitive, pro-property rights, and good government request from Congress to the new Chairman Pai
InfoTech & Telecom
January 28, 2017
The New Political Calculus on Net Neutrality
The window of opportunity for negotiating a legislative compromise on reasonable net neutrality protections is 2017.
 

The Issue

Three decades of U.S. telecom policy were reversed on February 26, 2015, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), by a 3–2 vote, reclassified broadband telecommunications as a public utility. If the decision survives the current court challenge, the FCC will have unprecedented power to regulate consumer and wholesale broadband pricing, quality of service, and service bundling.

Although the FCC assures it will “forbear” the full scope of regulatory powers it now has under Title II, it has assumed the authority to regulate content and applications, impose additional taxes and fees on services, and use its discretion to respond to any situation or practice where it believes competition, investment, free access, or the utility of the Internet is endangered.

Until now, the prevailing policy toward telecommunications and the Internet supported deregulation of voice services, light regulation of ISPs, and almost no regulation of Internet content and applications. Under this policy, Internet use has grown explosively; a 2014 report estimated 87 percent of U.S. adults regularly use the Internet, up from 79 percent in 2010 and 66 percent in 2005.

There are serious doubts this can continue in the regulated environment the FCC has imposed in recent years. Congress, as well as state and local governments, can resist this regulatory agenda by pursuing proven policies that have worked for years because they stimulate market forces and private industry initiative and respond to real customer needs and wants. The alternative is an Internet that runs at the government’s pace, where every innovation must be examined, evaluated, and approved by government bureaucrats before reaching the public.

Our Stance

Issues such as network neutrality, excessive telecom taxes, and municipal broadband have been matters of controversy for more than a decade. In recent years, widespread adoption of broadband and the general disruption of the digital economy have raised new policy issues. Governments at all levels are now debating privacy, Internet hate speech, and “sharing economy” services such as Uber and Airbnb, which offer tremendous convenience to consumers yet threaten established local businesses.

Featured Subtopics

City at night with streaks of light
The Internet has thrived due to its open and market-based nature. Imposing a vast new array of government regulations under Title II, like net neutrality, would stifle what has made the Internet one of the biggest growth sectors of the economy. To ensure the growth of our nation’s broadband infrastructure and the growth of the internet economy, any changes to how the internet and broadband is regulated needs to look away from outdated regulatory models and instead focus on policies which do not hinder innovation and growth.
Keyboard with the word privacy on it
Broadband development across the United States has been robust, creating wide internet availability at affordable prices. The market based system does not need reform; government control of the spectrum would undermine what has been a very successful system.
Man holding tablet with wi-fi symbol
Broadband development across the United States has been robust, creating wide internet availability at affordable prices. The market based system does not need reform; government control of the spectrum would undermine what has been a very successful system.

Additional Subtopics

  • Antitrust
  • Broadband
  • Cable
  • Censorship
  • Cloud Computing
  • Copyright
  • Encryption
  • Internet
  • Municipal Overbuild
  • Regulation
  • Security
  • Streaming
  • Taxes
  • Universal Service
  • VOIP
  • Wireless

Videos

Title: Citizens Revolutionary Week Day 2
Description: Jesse Hathaway covers Day Two of Citizens Revolutionary Week in Washington, DC on May 24, 2016. In this video, they cover the left's victory for net neutrality -- aka government control of the Internet and larger digital economy.

Infotech & Telecom Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on information technology and telecommunications issues are available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Staff & Fellows Policy Experts

Steven Titch
Independent Policy Analyst
Steven Titch is a policy analyst focusing on telecommunications, Internet and information technology. He is also a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.