Concern with Internet Order’s Message to World

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has been getting an earful of criticism from Congress this month primarily because of the agency’s partisan decision to impose new heavy-handed regulations on the Internet.  In addition to the problems this FCC order may lead to here in the United States, there is concern about the message it sends internationally. 

During last week’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed his concern that countries like Russia and China that already have clamps on the Internet would only be emboldened by this FCC move:

They don’t have a First Amendment, nor do they have any sort of societal or governmental commitment to the notion of free speech. What they see is a governmental agency of the United States involved in setting terms for how the Internet can be provided, maybe even if its content neutral. And I think it gives them an excuse to say, “If your government can do it, our government can do it too.”

In its unanimous Resolution last month against the FCC net neutrality order, the National Religious Broadcasters Board of Directors, a body of approximately a hundred key leaders among Christian communicators, similarly highlighted that such action may “send a poor signal to nations that have or are considering more state governance of the Internet,” and may encourage “repressive regimes that would like an international body like the International Telecommunications Union of the United Nations to have increased authority over the Internet.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: March 27, 2015

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