Re the May 6 story EU moves to help tech companies compete with U.S. giants: While Europe scrambles to catch up to American innovators such as Amazon and Google, our own country is inexplicably moving toward the same “public utility” Internet policies being quickly abandoned overseas.
The debate over Open Internet — in the United States, “net neutrality” — is over. Bipartisan legislation offers the chance to make it the law of the land. But the FCC’s pursuit of “reclassification” — meaning European-style utility regulation for the Internet — will create a “Mother, may I?” government permission system for new Internet innovations, while scaring away the investment we need in high-speed networks that made Amazon and Google successful in the first place.
Why emulate Europe, where only 12 percent of rural households have access to 25 Mbps service, while here the figure is four times greater? And this brazen attempt to expand the FCC’s regulatory purview is likely to be overturned in court or by a future administration.
Congress needs to reverse course by passing strong net-neutrality laws that will protect Internet users without the damage caused by the European utility approach. It should be setting policy, not regulators and, ultimately, judges.
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Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson should support net-neutrality legislation and bring this issue to a decisive and productive resolution.
Ev Ehrlich, undersecretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton, Washington, D.C.