Since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, ended the regulation of the internet under Title II, investment in broadband infrastructure has continued to increase. Now that we’re facing a public health crisis posed by COVID-19, this increase in broadband capacity is more important than ever.
That’s why when the FCC recently asked for comments regarding Mozilla Corp. v FCC, court decision. One of the topics they sought comments on included how the repeal of Title II impacted public safety. The Pelican Institute and other affiliated State Policy Network organizations came together to file joint comments on this issue.
The coalition pointed out that there has been more than $660 billion in private investments in broadband capacity over the last decade. Approximately $80 billion has been invested in 2018 alone. This increased investment has allowed America’s internet to perform admirably, as Americans increasingly count on working from home, telehealth, and online learning. Meanwhile, other countries’ internet infrastructures have required the tradeoffs feared when Title II was repealed.
As the coalition wrote in its letter, “These networks are increasingly being used for important lifesaving activities, such as telemedicine. States are quickly adopting policies to allow for more telemedicine usage, and they are unlikely to implement the previous restrictions. Telemedicine only works over a strong connection. Networks would be right to prioritize this lifesaving treatment over streaming services or social media use, something that would be illegal under Title II regulations.”
Rather than harming public safety, as its critics contend, the passage of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which repealed Title II, has proven to be an asset.
The Pelican Institute was proud to sign onto these joint comments with the John Locke Foundation, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, Civitas Institute, Beacon Center of Tennessee, The Washington Policy Center, The Libertas Institute, The James Madison institute, and Mississippi Center for Public Policy.