WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois) commented Thursday on what he calls the Federal Communication Commission’s fundamentally flawed approach to net neutrality.
“The real tragedy in President Obama and Chairman Wheeler’s approach to net neutrality is that they lack the imagination to see beyond the status quo,” Shimkus said in a press release. “Instead of debating how to divvy up today’s existing bandwidth, we should be talking about ways to incentivize the build-out of broad-band infrastructure and increase innovation-driven competition in the Internet service market.”
Rather than looking toward the future, the FCC reached into the past, back to their telegram-era regulatory authority, to reclassify broadband Internet service as a public utility. This approach not only would grant the federal government sweeping new authority over Internet traffic and open the door to additional taxes, it would disincentive the development and deployment of faster Internet service nationwide.
“Reclassifi-cation of broadband service won’t create more bandwidth — just more lobbyists, litigation and loopholes,” Shimkus said. “The only path forward that protects consumers from blocking and throttling, without stifling innovation or delaying build-out, requires action by Congress.”
To that end, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation have released draft legislation to provide clear rules of the road for open and unfettered access to the Internet. This draft legislation guarantees that Internet users will continue to be the decision makers for the content they want, while ensuring that innovation and investment continue to fuel the robust future of the Internet. The legislation also avoids lengthy court battles likely to come from the FCC’s action.