After over nine hours of debate over mostly failed amendments, and delays, legislation that would re-regulate internet access by reinstating the Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open Internet Order's Title II-based net neutrality rules is on its way to a vote in the full House, where it is likely to pass. An amended version of the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) was approved by the House Commerce Committee on a party-line vote.
The Senate unanimously confirmed all five of President Trump's nominees to serve on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), bringing the consumer protection agency to full strength for the first time since the start of the new administration. The FTC will now be chaired by Joseph Simons, a Republican antitrust attorney who led the commission's competition bureau during the George W.
[Commentary] Is it conceivable that Congress created the Federal Communications Commission so that it could identify a risk and then decide that it should take no action to constrain it? The Restoring Internet Freedom order suggests that the FCC doesn’t approve of blocking, but insists that the FCC will do nothing about it if it takes place. The Federal Trade Commission is a great antitrust and consumer-protection agency and its work is vitally important. But it was not designed to be an expert in the way that communications networks operate.
We are on the cusp of an opportunity to close the remaining digital divide with a once-in-a-generation investment in broadband infrastructure through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which, if passed by the House and signed into law, would devote tens of billions more toward the deployment and affordability of broadband, with the goal of connecting every American. But how do we spend these funds wisely? Policymakers must aim for the best return.
Local governments play a critical and direct role facilitating broadband upgrades and new deployments through their zoning and permitting functions. Recognizing that communities across the country could benefit from additional resources, I introduced H.R. 5058, the Broadband Incentives for Communities Act, to provide grants to hire and train employees, purchase software, and upgrade capabilities to facilitate broadband upgrades and deployment.
The Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act is a plan to invest $43.2 billion in the USDA’s Rural Development broadband programs by: