Banks. Auto companies. Health care. What will Washington take over next? The Internet, if they can get away with it. In fact, extreme left-wing ideologues and their allies at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are now considering a direct frontal assault on the Internet, reclassifying it as an old-fashioned regulated monopoly, like the Ma Bell-era phone system. This would mean regulators overseeing every aspect of the network. It’s a frightening prospect, and we’ll tell you more next week about our plans to fight it.
In the meantime, we are still fighting hard against another tactic the Left is using to get control of the Internet, so-called”Open Internet” or “net neutrality” regulations. I need your help again on that front. In the first round of comments to the FCC, AFP activists filed over 22,000 comments, crushing the Marxist group Free Press, the leading advocates of regulation, who filed only 13,000. This issue is their number one priority, and they have vowed to put millions of comments into the docket this time, before the April 8 deadline. We need your help to make the voices heard of the hundreds of millions of Internet users who are NOT clamoring for regulation.
These rules would prohibit Internet Service Providers from treating types of traffic differently, potentially forcing high-priority video conferencing, telemedicine, and similar services to compete for bandwidth with teenagers stealing video games. They would put regulators, instead of the market, in a position to determine which business models can be used, and these restrictions will likely deter private investment, slowing the remarkable innovation we have seen over the past decade of a largely unregulated Internet.
When private investment declines, taxpayers will be forced to step in and subsidize broadband Internet, with lots of strings attached. And regulations could eventually even restrict political speech online.
Free Press founder Robert McChesney famously said:
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
Thanks again for your help on this, and we’ll let you know a lot more next week about the broader fight to stop a Washington takeover of the Internet.
Vice President, Policy
Americans for Prosperity
P.S. Our friends at Tea Party Patriots have a great project called Contract From America to develop a grassroots agenda for the country. After you submit your comments to the FCC, please head over to the Contract at www.thecontract.org and vote for “Protect Internet Freedom” to make sure this vital issue remains a top priority. Thanks.