In President Trump’s America, is it the end of net neutrality? Forbes interviewed telecomm professionals to discuss outlook for the industry.
Pre-election, there was virtually zero discussion of tech and telecom issues by Trump or his campaign. It’s highly likely that Republican telecom pros are now clamoring to provide opinions to the president-elect’s transition team.
Jim Smith stated:
“The new administration may try to refocus the FCC in other ways, in the name of deregulation and free enterprise.
For example, the-GOP controlled Congress may enact legislation to delete the common carrier exception to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, so that the FTC rather than the FCC would be charged with policing the allegedly unfair trade practices by tech and telecom companies.”
At the very least there will be a strong de-regulatory push on tech and telecom policy by a Trump administration and FCC. Big industry players and the Republican minority on the FCC have long complained that the Obama administration and FCC have been so regulation-happy that they have hindered broadband and other infrastructure investment.
While nothing moves quickly in Washington and there will be strong resistance from Democrats, public interest groups and some industry players, one highly likely target of the next Republican Congress and a Trump FCC will be the Open Internet Order (also known as “net neutrality”), which Chairman Tom Wheeler and the Democratic-majority FCC pushed through over the bitter opposition of the two Republican FCC commissioners and the Republican congressional majority last year. Republicans claim that the detailed rules, aimed at increasing transparency and prohibiting discrimination and paid prioritization by Internet providers, were an over-regulatory solution in search of a problem. There will be a strong push to repeal those rules, which allow the FCC to regulate Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) on the ground that they are “common carriers.” If they are reversed, either by the new Congress or the new FCC, it could free ISPs from FCC regulation, including a new system of Internet privacy and data security regulation that the Democratic FCC enacted just weeks before the election.
Stay tuned as we keep you updated.