ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – It has been nearly six months since the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted last October to launch a new proceeding seeking to formally reestablish net neutrality regulations for the internet. Today, the FCC publicly released a draft net neutrality order that it will vote on April 25th.

Similar to the initial Proposed Rule, this draft order would, among other things, reclassify broadband services from a Title I information service to a Title II telecommunications service under the Communications Act of 1934. The Commission appears to believe that such reclassification is necessary to “safeguard the fair and open Internet” and protect consumers.

However, the internet already is “fair and open” and consumers increasingly enjoy a wide range of service choices available at reasonable and even declining prices. Therefore, we are concerned that reclassification is completely unnecessary. Moreover, we are concerned that such a move represents a radical departure from the light-touch approach to internet regulation that has served our country so well in the past.

We believe the draft order, as it is written, is likely to lead to significant unintended consequences for investment, deployment, and access within the broadband market, as well as for consumers who will experience higher broadband prices as a result of increased tax exposure typically experienced by telecommunications services. This draft goes much further than prior net neutrality regulations, which led to disastrous results, including a sharp decline in investment.

The new rule would apply Section 214 of the Communications Act to Internet Service Providers, which were previously exempt, requiring them to obtain burdensome certificates of convenience from the Commission before they are permitted to build out networks. Countless other changes have also been proposed that we believe are likely to have significant negative repercussions for the broadband market.

For these reasons, we strongly urge the Commission to reconsider this rulemaking, which is certain to produce unintended consequences for consumers and the broadband market in general.

The American Consumer Institute is a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the draft net neutrality order or the Institute, visit www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on Twitter (X) @ConsumerPal.