Today FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and two other commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received a standing ovation after voting in favor to apply 1930’s era regulations to the internet. It’s doubtful any manufacturers were in the audience.
The internet has become a critical tool across the manufacturing enterprise. It is used to run machines on the shop floor, it connects cars to make them safer, it allows small manufacturers to grow their business globally. Manufacturers have leveraged the internet and other technology to become the most innovative industry in the world.
The FCC’s decision today to regulate the internet puts that innovation at risk.
Investment in this piece of critical infrastructure has driven the United States to be the world’s internet technology leader. Any future investment decisions will now have to be reevaluated as a result of the FCC’s action today. This means manufacturers will be delayed in accessing state-of-the-art technology they need to differentiate themselves in the world market.
There is a way to fix this however. Congress can pass legislation updating the rules of the road that reflect 21st century innovation and not the rotary telephone. The NAM will continue to engage Capitol Hill on this issue and work toward a bipartisan solution that does not slow the manufacturing comeback.