It’s been a busy day for tech talk in Washington. Today, both the House and the Senate held hearings on net neutrality and a proposed bill to regulate it. A parade of former regulators, lobbyists, business representatives, lawyers, and consumer advocates sat on Capitol Hill and once again hashed through the debate, while elsewhere in the District, a current FCC commissioner was giving a lunchtime speech about why the FCC shouldn’t regulate at all.
The three events broke down into the same general sides we’ve been used to for the last year: those who wish to see the FCC regulate broadband carriers as Title II communications services, and those who want the FCC to leave the poor put-upon broadband industry alone so it can keep making money hand over fist. But today the anti-Title II side used two main arguments that just don’t add up.
In remarks he gave at the American Enterprise Institute (PDF), FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly focused not on the business side of things, but on the consumer. The poor consumer, he said, will have to pay more for broadband if Title II happens because of something that almost nobody’s been focusing on: the Universal Service Fund.
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