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Complaints to the FCC rose from about 400 in 1966 to over 60,000 by 1970.

Bill Ruder, former assistant secretary of commerce under President Kennedy, frankly noted that: Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.

Perhaps more alarming is the extreme, and widespread, deference of courts to the administrative state. Title II laws and regulations, largely drawn up to restrain the government-blessed AT&T long-distance monopoly, constitute one of the most restrictive regulatory regimes in the country.The 1990s saw the deregulation of phone, TV, and Internet companies, which planted the seeds for the era of technological dynamism we enjoy today.Congress learned long ago that the FCC interprets silence about a new technology as an invitation to regulate.The leading Internet-regulation advocates are outraged that President Trump’s FCC is loosening its grip on the web and restoring oversight to the country’s primary competition and consumer-protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission.They decry the loss of “net neutrality,” a tremendously fuzzy and misunderstood concept.Their armies of attorneys, many of whom used to work at the FCC, will closely read the thousands of pages of orders, declaratory rulings, and press releases to anticipate shifting legal winds.Smaller providers and mom-and-pop tech startups, focused on customers and services rather than compliance, will be left in the dark.To prevent history from repeating itself, in 1996 a Republican Congress and President Bill Clinton amended the Communications Act of 1934 and announced a new U. policy, loud enough for the FCC and state public-utility commissioners to hear: The Internet — including “specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet” — should be “unfettered from Federal or State regulation.” That declaration hasn’t stopped FCC officials and pro-regulation advocates in the years since.The agency’s areas of regulation — telegraph, telephone, broadcast-TV, and cable-TV providers — are dead, dying, or using Internet technology to reinvent themselves.When self-anointed “net neutrality” proponents use the term, they mean far-reaching Internet regulation by the FCC, the so-called Open Internet rules created when broadband service was determined to fall under Title II in 2015.Young people appear most susceptible to the siren song of the Open Internet rules.


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