McCain seeks to block FCC’s proposed rules
CTIA has a friend working on its side – former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who introduced legislation yesterday to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from enacting proposed rules to regulate the Internet.
The Arizona Republican introduced the Internet Freedom Act of 2009, designed to keep the Internet free from government control and regulation. “It will allow for continued innovation that will in turn create more high-paying jobs for the millions of Americans who are out of work or seeking new employment,” McCain said. “Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy.”
McCain notes that the wireless industry “exploded over the past 20 years due to limited government regulation. Wireless carriers invested $100 billion in infrastructure and development over the past three years, which has led to faster networks, more competitors in the marketplace and lower prices compared to any other country.” Meanwhile, “wired telephones and networks have become a slow dying breed as they are mired in state and federal regulations, universal service contribution requirements and limitations on use.”
In an opinion piece for The Washington Times before the FCC’s vote yesterday, McCain said the proposed new rules should be viewed as another government “power grab” over a private service provided by private companies in a competitive marketplace. Earlier this year, the government moved to control much of the auto industry and the banking industry, “so it should come as no surprise that the government now wishes to control the technology industry by regulating its very core: the Internet,” he wrote.
It’s not clear how much support the Internet Freedom Act will get. Reuters reports that more than 70 House Democrats in recent days have written the FCC expressing concern over net neutrality regulations.
The FCC is looking at a range of issues affecting the wireless industry. Late yesterday, CTIA filed reply comments in response to the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry into the state of competition in wireless.
The association said that updated data from the Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey reaffirms that consumers continue to embrace wireless services and that significant, ongoing network investments are indicative of healthy competition among carriers.
Reported Web-capable devices on carriers’ networks rose from 210.6 million in June 2008 to 237.1 million as of June 2009, meaning as many as 85.7 percent of the nation’s 276.6 million subscribers have a device that enables mobile access to the Internet, the association said. The number of smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs reported on carriers’ networks as of June 2009 was 40.7 million, and the number of wireless-enabled laptops, aircards and wireless modems reported on carriers’ networks was 10.8 million.