Internet freedom

Statement On FCC Chairman Pai’s Net Neutrality Speech

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Freedom of Speech, Media, Net Neutrality Series 2.0 | No Comments

Washington, DC, April 26, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s speech announcing his net neutrality plans:

“I applaud Chairman Pai’s decision to use an open and transparent process for reversing Obama’s decision to snatch political control over the internet using net neutrality as an excuse. It was an act of extraordinary bravery for Pai to start this process, and it will take an iron will for him to stand up to the Silicon Valley giants that seek to squash his plan. If they succeed, America will never be great again.

Today’s speech sets the stage for a David and Goliath battle between Pai and Google, the richest and most powerful corporation the world has ever known. Obama’s net neutrality rules were designed to support Google’s business interests, and Google will throw all its strength behind them.

It’s impossible to overstate the Google Goliath’s strength. Its power goes far beyond the massive amounts it spends on lobbying and its work on behalf of the Obama and Hillary Clinton political campaigns.

Google’s monopoly over internet advertising also gives it unseemly influence over the opinions of mainstream media. The thousands of newspapers, TV stations, and other media that rely on Google’s advertising network for a substantial portion of their revenue streams cannot afford to oppose Google on net neutrality.

That’s why Pai’s speech took so much courage. Both the mainstream media and the world’s richest corporations will be against him.

Americans who believe in free speech, freedom of the press, and fair competition cannot let him stand alone. Pai is internet freedom’s David. At this hour, we must stand by Pai.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

The First Amendment and the Internet: The Press Clause Protects the Internet Transmission of Mass Media Content from Common Carrier Regulation

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Freedom of Speech | No Comments

The Nebraska Law Review has published an article written by Fred Campbell that explains how the Press Clause of the First Amendment protects the Internet transmission of mass media content from common carrier regulation. The complete article is available HERE.

CBIT White Paper: How Net Neutrality Invites the Feds to Ignore the First Amendment & Censor the Internet

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Freedom of Speech, Net Neutrality Series 2.0 | 5 Comments

Click HERE to download the paper in PDF.

Executive Summary

Is watching Netflix on the broadband Internet more like (A) watching cable television or (B) talking on the telephone? Common sense suggests the answer is “A”, the court that overturned the previous open Internet rules[1] chose “A”,[2] and the First Amendment demands it. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) nevertheless chose “B” in the Second Internet Order:[3] It concluded the Internet is the functional equivalent of the public switched telephone network and is subject to the common carrier regulations in Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

If the FCC had admitted the Internet offers communications capabilities that are functionally equivalent to the printing press, mail carriage, newspaper publishing, over-the-air broadcasting, and cable television combined, it would have been too obvious that classifying broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers is unconstitutional. Like all other means of disseminating mass communications, broadband Internet access is a part of the “press” that the First Amendment protects from common carriage regulation. Read More

Congress, not three unelected officials, should decide the future of the Internet

Posted by | Broadband Internet | No Comments

Today I joined a diverse coalition of web entrepreneurs, investors, telecom and antitrust experts, and policy organizations who signed a letter urging lawmakers of both parties to take responsibility for resolving net neutrality through legislation. The letter states, “Congress, not three unelected officials, should decide the future of the Internet.” The American people would be better served if that future does not include Title II or vague and expansive FCC authority under “Section 706.” The complete letter is available HERE.

CBIT Statement on President’s Municipal Broadband Plan

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Freedom of Speech, Regulatory State | 2 Comments

Washington, D.C., January 14, 2015 – Fred Campbell, Director of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, released the following statement with respect to President’s Obama’s broadband announcement today in Cedar Falls, Iowa:

“President Obama’s latest plan to turn the Internet into a public utility is bad economics and bad for our Constitutional right to a free press. The approach to broadband adopted by Cedar Falls, where the President is revealing his plan, repeats the economic errors of the past.

The Cedar Falls network is owned by the city’s rate-regulated power utility. The Federal Communications Commission has long recognized that combining rate-regulated services with other services leads to hidden price increases. This “cross-subsidization” concern — that power companies have incentives to raise consumer electric bills to pay for the deployment of broadband networks — is why the Department of Justice sued to break up the AT&T monopoly in the early 1980s.

Though this problem can be avoided by keeping municipal broadband networks separate from power companies, many independent, government-owned broadband networks have failed, leaving taxpayers to clean up the mess. Burlington Telecom in Vermont used $17 million in city funds before defaulting on its debt obligations. Similarly, the city of Provo, Utah was subsidizing its broadband network at the rate of $2 million per year until it decided to sell the network to Google for one dollar.

Turning broadband networks into public utilities would also put the freedom of the press at risk. The Founders knew through their own, living experience that governments can control ideas by controlling the means of their dissemination. That’s why the First Amendment protects the printing press — the mass media technology of their day — from government control. That protection is equally applicable to the Internet, which is rapidly becoming the primary mass media technology of the present day. Permitting government ownership of a monopoly broadband network would be every bit as dangerous as permitting government ownership of a monopoly newspaper.”

President Obama’s Plan to Impose Title II Regulations on the Internet Promises More Economic Despair

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Net Neutrality Series | No Comments

A version of this post was previously published by 4G Trends.

It’s no mystery why the Democratic Party lost big in this year’s election: “The party of economic despair will always lose.” President Obama has presided over six years of lackluster economic growth. “Progressive Democratic policies on Keystone, power-plant closures and oils exports crushed younger, unionized job seekers.”

This week, the President doubled down on his bad economic policies when he announced his plan to impose net neutrality through ‘Title II’ price regulation of Internet broadband providers — a plan that will discourage investment in new communications infrastructure and threaten our economic recovery.

Over the last three years, America’s broadband providers have been the brightest source of economic hope during a particularly gloomy recession.

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) ranks AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast among the top ten U.S. “investment heroes” — the companies who are investing the most capital in the United States. These three companies alone have invested nearly $125 billion in the U.S. over the last three years, with AT&T and Verizon topping the list on an annual basis.

Obama’s response to their investments in America’s long-term future? A government plan that would take the value of their investments and gift it to his allies in Silicon Valley — companies that haven’t been willing to make the same level of investment on American soil. Read More

CBIT Statement on President Obama’s Plan to Regulate the Internet

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Statement | No Comments

This morning, President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to impose common carrier regulation on the Internet using Title II of the Communications Act. CBIT’s Director, Fred Campbell, responded as follows:

“Imposing Title II regulations on the Internet would discourage investment in new communications infrastructure and threaten our economic recovery. Investment in the Internet is flourishing under the current light-touch regulatory approach using the FCC’s section 706 authority, an approach that was pioneered in the Clinton-era and approved by Federal courts earlier this year. The President’s plan would reject the legal roadmap using section 706 that was approved by the courts in favor of an untested, heavy-handed approach originally designed for the analog telephone system. Applying Title II to the Internet would create legal uncertainty at home and encourage the efforts of totalitarian regimes abroad to tighten their control over the Internet — the 21st Century’s mass media communications system.”

Video: Title II Telecom Forum With FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

Yesterday the Internet Innovation Alliance posted the video stream from its event entitled, “Title II Regulation and its Potential Impact on Deployment of 21st Century Broadband Networks and Services,” featuring FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. The video is available HERE.

Availability of Broadband in the United States Is Two to Three Times Greater than in the European Union

Posted by | Broadband Internet, International | 2 Comments

Advocates for increasing regulation of broadband providers in the United States frequently point to Europe’s highly regulated broadband market as an example the US should emulate — if only their claims were true. A new research report prepared by a PhD fellow in Internet economics at Aalborg University in Denmark concludes that, “The data unequivocally demonstrate that the US exceeds the EU [European Union] on a number of important broadband measures.”

The most dramatic difference is in the availability of high-speed Internet technologies, including Internet speeds of 100 Mbps or greater, fourth generation (4G) wireless LTE broadband, fiber to the home (FTTH), and broadband over cable systems. This chart comparing the availability of broadband technologies, which uses data from the report, illustrates the stark differences between broadband deployment in the US and the EU. (Click on the chart to enlarge it.)

CBIT-blog-EU v US chart

Europe’s struggle with broadband availability is largely due to the lack of private investment in broadband infrastructure within the EU. Read More