One of the biggest puzzles in democratic societies across the world these days is what to do about regulation. On the one hand, regulation is important for a well-functioning society. On the other hand, too much regulation can hamper innovation and growth.
Moreover, there’s a feeling that democratic governance has broken down. We don’t seem to have a good process for coming to collective decisions.
Case in point: The “open internet” debate. When the FCC issued its Open Internet Order in March 2015, we said it was “time for Congress to act.” We believed and still believe that in the importance of an open internet, but the FCC was unilaterally picking the wrong approach. The imposition of Title II rules was unnecessary to keep the internet open.
Now that the FCC may be backing from the 2015 Open Internet Order under new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, we say the same thing: It’s time for Congress to act. These big swings back and forth in policy don’t do anyone any good.
Consumers, tech firms, ecommerce and content companies, and telecom providers all need certainty about the rules of the road, and that means legislation that enacts the open internet into law without an excessive and unnecessary regulatory structure. It may not be quick and pretty, but it’s the right way to go.