The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, announced today that the agency intends to repeal the 1930s-era regulations known as “Title II” that have been imposed on the internet since 2014. This move will benefit all manufacturers that increasingly depend on connected technology and the robust broadband infrastructure needed for it to succeed.
In the two decades before Title II regulation, our nation experienced unprecedented growth in the internet and broad penetration of internet-driven technology across all industry sectors. This investment was facilitated by a regulatory framework applied with a “light-touch” throughout that period. Regulators and policymakers from both parties knew that if you increased regulation unnecessarily, it would lead to a decrease in investment—and they were right. That is exactly what has happened since 2014 when heavy-handed regulations were applied to our nation’s broadband infrastructure.
Chairman Pai described the situation well this afternoon. He said “domestic broadband capital expenditures decreased by 5.6 percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016, the first two years of the Title II era. This decline is extremely unusual. It is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the internet era.” This is cause for concern for the manufacturing sector.
A decrease in investment in our nation’s broadband infrastructure will hinder manufacturers’ ability to innovate. If the industry does not have a robust network to power new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, it risks losing the opportunities that come with it, not to mention the jobs that will be created. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is fully supportive of the FCC’s efforts to roll back the regulation of the internet.
The NAM supports an open internet that fosters innovation and creates opportunities and jobs for manufacturers. We look forward to working with the FCC and all other stakeholders throughout as the transparent process Chairman Pai outlined today moves forward.