President Obama’s statement on Monday that Internet service providers should be treated like public utilities is too heavy-handed, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators.
In a late-Monday statement, NCSL Executive Director William Pound said while his group supports an “open, accessible and vibrant” internet, it believes in promoting that ideal with limited regulation. Here’s the group’s short statement:
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) respectfully disagrees with the President and urges the FCC to maintain the current federal minimal regulatory approach that allows the competitive marketplace to drive broadband and broadband-related application development and deployment. NCSL has long supported policies promoting an open, accessible and vibrant Internet consistent with the principles of ‘light touch’ regulation.
The group had previously made similar statements. In a July letter in response to the Federal Communications Commission seeking public comment on how to promote an open Internet, Pound made a similar statement, noting the group’s concerns that government regulation could serve to stifle consumer choice and technological innovation, hurting states by affecting business investment decisions. The growth of the Internet was possible thanks to a lack of government involvement, he wrote. Over-regulation could stifle growth going forward. Here’s what he wrote then:
As more Americans rely on the Internet for increasingly sophisticated and bandwidth-intensive applications, it is ever more critical that broadband providers have the flexibility to manage this surge in traffic through a variety of means, including adding more capacity and employing network management capabilities without government mandates. NCSL urges the FCC to maintain the current minimal regulatory approach that allows the competitive marketplace to drive broadband and broadband-related application development and deployment.