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Outdated Laws Regulate Internet // Net Neutrality Round Four

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Recently, Doug Brake with the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and guest speaker on several of LGBT Tech's panels wrote an article in The Hill "Ajit Pai Could Finally Get Net Neutrality Right". I feel he points out several good thoughts that are overlooked as advocates fiercely fight to keep our Internet "Open".

First, the Internet was open before Wheeler's rules were put in place in 2015 and as Doug put it, "will still be wonderful and open if Pai succeeds in making some much-needed changes." So contrary to the 140 character "the sky is falling" activist tweets, this is not the end of the Internet as we know it but the FCC has some changes to make.

Second, "At the end of the day, all can agree the Internet deserves a stable, flexible, truly bipartisan regulatory framework." writes Doug Brake (@DBrakeITIF) with ITIF. The ruling in 2015 "...which classified broadband providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, sparked fireworks in all directions, highlighting the need for the FCC to find a better solution - or for Congress to step in and put this issue behind us once and for all by crafting a new, specially tailored law." When the FCC classified broadband providers as "common carriers", they began regulating our Internet with a legal framework created over 82 years ago. When this framework was put into place, the board game Monopoly had been around for about a year, FM broadcasting was developed and Alcatraz was officially named a federal prison. As a country we are not regulating autonomous cars with the original legislation put in place as when Henry Ford was rolling his first cars off the assembly line, so why would the Internet be any different?

Third, Doug makes a great concluding point and one that LGBT Tech has consistently been asking for. "The best solution to this issue should be balanced and stable—I say give Pai a shot at stopping the pendulum’s momentum at the bottom of its arc. But at the fourth attempt at net neutrality rules, this is starting to get ridiculous. Congress would do well to start seriously discussing the contours of a compromise so we can put this perennial problem to bed and move on to the real pressing Internet problems, such as closing the digital divide." writes Doug.

LGBT Tech has consistently called for Congress to step in and draft bipartisan legislation that actually protects consumers and creates stability in the marketplace rather than regulating our Internet with rules that can be changed and undone every time the administration changes.

I hope the fourth time is the charm, as Doug put it, and Congress takes the appropriate, necessary steps to put a bipartisan, specially tailored law in place.

Read Doug Brake's (@DBrakeITIF) full post in The Hill -

Chris Wood

Executive Director


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