Taking Broadband Out From Under Title II Welcome First Step Toward Solidifying Dynamic Open Internet

April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON—The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the top-ranked U.S. science- and tech-policy think tank, today released the following statement from Senior Telecom Policy Analyst Doug Brake welcoming Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s announcement of plans to roll back his predecessor’s ill-advised classification of broadband as a utility service under Title II of the Communications Act:

Chairman Pai’s plans are undoubtedly in the right direction. Classifying broadband as a common carrier under Title II was a mistake that must be corrected, and the sooner the better. The Internet was wonderful and open before Wheeler’s rules were put in place in 2015, and it will be wonderful and open if Pai succeeds in making some much-needed changes. Title II and an open Internet are not one and the same. The former is a messy regulatory framework that we should shed, and the latter is a set of principles agreed upon by most that we can keep with a more middle-ground approach that gives the FCC the legal authority to stop unfair practices, but still allows for innovative new services.

The months ahead will be a slog, with all the hyperbole and misinformation from activists who want to see the Internet provided as a heavily regulated public utility. There is plenty of common ground on open Internet principles—let’s set aside the absurd “sky is falling” theatrics and work towards real solutions that shed the weighty baggage of Title II while enabling innovation throughout the entire Internet ecosystem.