Tags: MidPoint | Harold Furchtgott-Roth | FCC | net neutrality | public utility

Ex-FCC Commissioner: Internet Users Will Pay More

By    |   Friday, 06 February 2015 03:16 PM

A federal agency's plan to classify the Internet as a public utility, and regulate service providers as if they were gas and electricity companies, guarantees bigger monthly bills for everyone who pays for online access, economist and former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth told Newsmax TV on Friday.

"The reality will be higher prices to consumers and years of litigation," Furchtgott-Roth told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "That's the inevitable outcome."

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The "utility" designation for Internet providers will preserve so-called "net neutrality" by preventing them from selectively speeding up or slowing down customers' Web traffic, or charging different fees for different speeds, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on Wednesday

The announcement follows President Barack Obama's call in November for "the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality."

"It's a mess," said Furchtgott-Roth, a former chief economist for the House Commerce Committee. "This is an ill-advised regulatory step by the federal government."

Under the existing system, most people can choose among Internet providers, he said.

"The vast majority of Americans — well over 90 percent of Americans — have access to two or three land-based broadband providers," said Furchtgott-Roth. "So it's a very intensely competitive market. and most of these companies aren't making very much money selling you broadband services."

"The efforts of the FCC in the coming weeks will make sure that the consumers won't get another choice because the broadband providers are going to have no incentive left to invest in new network equipment," he said.

"This isn't just about the cable companies," he added. "It's about cable companies, it's about telephone companies, it's about wireless companies. Everyone's going to be affected by these new regulations and each of these companies is going to have less incentive to invest in equipment and new services than they do without these rules."

"What the FCC is going to do is to say that it has the authority to regulate almost every aspect of the Internet, he said, adding, "That's not an environment in which a business is going to want to launch new services and to invest in very costly plans and equipment."

The good news, he said, is that the courts still throw out the new rules.

"It's not clear the courts are going to let the commission do this," said Furchtgott-Roth. "That will take a couple of years to decide.

"Hopefully at some point either the courts will throw it out or a future commission will receive better advice," he said, "and will have an opportunity to look at what's happening in the marketplace and come to a better conclusion about how to move forward, which will likely be not to have the types of rules … that the commission is about to impose on the American public."

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A federal agency's plan to classify the Internet as a public utility, and regulate service providers as if they were gas and electricity companies, guarantees bigger monthly bills for everyone who pays for online access, former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth told Newsmax TV.
Harold Furchtgott-Roth, FCC, net neutrality, public utility
488
2015-16-06
Friday, 06 February 2015 03:16 PM
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