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house Bill H.R. 2666

Should the FCC be Banned From Regulating the Rates Consumers Pay for Broadband Internet?

Argument in favor

The FCC doesn’t want to regulate the rates consumers are charged for their broadband internet. This bill would prevent them from doing so while still allowing the FCC to enforce transparent billing requirements and regulate data roaming charges.

BTSundra's Opinion
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04/15/2016
As long as there aren't regulations on who can be an ISP, the market will sort this out for itself.
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David's Opinion
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04/13/2016
Government price controls are never a good idea. They stifle innovation, deprive companies of profit, lower wages for workers of said companies, and curtail sales pricing which benefit consumers. We already subsidize broadband in "underserved" communities by federal fiat, artificially inflating the price we pay our providers. Companies are incentivized to provide outstanding service by the potential for profit. Consumers need to realize that we get what we pay for, and sometimes flank steak will have to do when we want fillet. Perhaps Congress would be interested in regulating speaking fees and salaries of former members. No? Didn't think so.
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GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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04/12/2016
Yes! Hands off the internet! Don't need the Feds anywhere near this last bastion of freedom. Look at China and the Internet.
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Argument opposed

Despite what the current FCC Chairman says, Congress shouldn’t close the door on FCC regulation for the rates consumers pay for broadband internet. A future commission may want that authority, and Congress would have to repeal this ban.

Rachel's Opinion
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04/15/2016
Broadband internet is, in most markets, supplied by monopolies or duopolies with little to no motivation to keep process reasonable. At the same time, the internet is as much a necessary utility in modern life as electricity. People, particularly those in low socio-economic brackets, should not be at the mercy of exploitative corporate agendas when it comes to being able to fully participate in society (including paying bills, finding jobs, and communicating with loved ones) because of prohibitively expensive internet bills, and it is right and proper that the FCC relate these charges.
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Elizabeth's Opinion
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04/15/2016
The fcc IS responsible for regulating communication and ensuring that the public is not entirely fleeced for services
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Kyle's Opinion
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04/15/2016
The telecommunications industry is in dire need of trust-busting, and in the meantime we need regulatory powers to protect consumers from exploitative practices and pricing.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2666?

This bill would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from regulating the rates consumers are charged for broadband internet service by their providers as a part of the Open Internet Order (aka net neutrality). FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has stated that the commission’s goal is to not regulate rates charged for broadband internet access, and if enacted this bill would prevent the agency from doing so.

The ban wouldn’t cover data roaming or interconnection — allowing the FCC to continue to regulate the rates providers charge consumers for those services.

Nothing in this legislation would affect the FCC’s authority to:

  • Make the receipt of universal service support by a broadband internet provider contingent on the regulation of rates charged by the provider for the supported service;

  • Enforce regulations relating to truth-in-billing requirements or paid prioritization.

Impact

People who pay for broadband internet; broadband internet providers; and the FCC.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2666

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would have a negligible cost.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-OH) introduced this bill to prevent the FCC from regulating broadband internet access rates, which the FCC doesn’t intend to regulate though it could do so in the future absent this legislation's enactment:

“While Chairman Wheeler has stated that the FCC does not intend to regulate broadband internet access rates under his leadership, future Commissions still have the authority to insert their own mandates on rates. If we are to ensure that the government is not setting the rates we pay to use the internet, we must once and for all take that option off the table.”

The motivation for this bill’s introduction came about at a 2015 committee hearing where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told committee members that “Our goal is not to have rate regulation.” Wheeler has since expressed reservations about this bill on the grounds that it could be worded too broadly and affect other aspects of the FCC’s internet regulations.

While the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed this legislation on a 29-19 vote, it was not without controversy. President Obama has issued a veto threat, while committee Democrats opposed the bill in a party-line vote due to concerns voiced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ):

“While the Republicans claim that they intend the bill to be narrow, we have heard over and over that their draft could swallow vast sections of the Communications Act. Most notably, as written, this bill could undermine the FCC’s ability to protect consumers.”

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user 
daniel-rehn)

AKA

No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act

Official Title

To prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from regulating the rates charged for broadband Internet access service.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed April 15th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 241 Yea / 173 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
    IntroducedJune 4th, 2015

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    As long as there aren't regulations on who can be an ISP, the market will sort this out for itself.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Broadband internet is, in most markets, supplied by monopolies or duopolies with little to no motivation to keep process reasonable. At the same time, the internet is as much a necessary utility in modern life as electricity. People, particularly those in low socio-economic brackets, should not be at the mercy of exploitative corporate agendas when it comes to being able to fully participate in society (including paying bills, finding jobs, and communicating with loved ones) because of prohibitively expensive internet bills, and it is right and proper that the FCC relate these charges.
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    The fcc IS responsible for regulating communication and ensuring that the public is not entirely fleeced for services
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    The telecommunications industry is in dire need of trust-busting, and in the meantime we need regulatory powers to protect consumers from exploitative practices and pricing.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    You have to asked yourself, who is behind this bill. Why are we trying to protect companies that, with this bill passed, could unethically raise the rates at their own greedy discretion and as they continue to merge-out their competition. The funny thing about this, currently the FCC does not regulate the rates, although this bill still is being introduced. Who is behind this?
    Like (8)
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    Share
    Government price controls are never a good idea. They stifle innovation, deprive companies of profit, lower wages for workers of said companies, and curtail sales pricing which benefit consumers. We already subsidize broadband in "underserved" communities by federal fiat, artificially inflating the price we pay our providers. Companies are incentivized to provide outstanding service by the potential for profit. Consumers need to realize that we get what we pay for, and sometimes flank steak will have to do when we want fillet. Perhaps Congress would be interested in regulating speaking fees and salaries of former members. No? Didn't think so.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes! Hands off the internet! Don't need the Feds anywhere near this last bastion of freedom. Look at China and the Internet.
    Like (7)
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    Share
    Our internet rates are way too high as it is. We need more regulation on them not less.
    Like (4)
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    You should not ban regulation until the FCC regulate.
    Like (4)
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    Different accessibility of Internet for different users. Simple as that. No need for regulation.
    Like (3)
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    Let business do business and the competition will regulate itself. There's no need for government regulation if there's no risk of monopoly or oligopoly. And in this situation, there's no significant risk of that occurring.
    Like (3)
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    The internet providers are becoming trust and the anti trust laws are not being used and the bigger they grow the more we have to pay for their exctes to have million dollar bonuses
    Like (3)
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    The control that these companies have, e.g. Verizon, is monopolistic in nature. Internet should be view as a utility and regulated that way.
    Like (3)
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    The ENTIRE POINT of the FCC is to regulate the electronics and communications market. It doesn't make sense now, it wouldn't make sense 20 years ago, and it wouldn't make sense in the future to keep it from fulfilling its primary goal!
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    Let the market sort it out. The government has proven it's incompetence in the past.
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    I find this FCC regulations somewhat confusing. Therefore I'll fall back on capitalism. Allow the competitive effects of business create a rate. Sounds like this could leave the taxpayer's paying for the less fortunate internet connections like Obama Phones.
    Like (2)
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    In 2014, the Progressive Policy Institute reported that the U.S broadband providers only made about 1/8 of the profits that corporations (Apple,Google,Twitter) who use their services made. That proves that there isn't unreasonable price gouging by the broadband providers. Instead of allowing the FCC to be regulating prices, we should be trying to increase competition and making it easier for smaller ISP companies to rise.
    Like (2)
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    Let the Market dictate prices.
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    Market, not government! Why is this so hard?
    Like (2)
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    I don't think it make sense to pass a potentially broad and far-reaching bill in order to prevent the FCC from doing something they already do not plan on doing. The FCC, as it stands, in our current economic/technological climate, does not want to regulate rates. Fine, then they won't, and Internet neutrality will be maintain. However, if ISPs begin abusing the consumer, the FCC may need to step in, and this bill would be rather inconvenient.
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