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ACU: We’re glad FCC Chairman Pai slammed the brakes on predecessor’s regulatory takeover

March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

(WASHINGTON DC) — “I am today ordering a freeze on all prices … throughout the United States.”

Guess who said this, President Richard Nixon or Obama’s FCC chairman Tom Wheeler?

It’s kind of a trick question, because they both said it. In response to Nixon’s Soviet-styled approach, the American Conservative Union (ACU) ran our own board chairman against Nixon in the 1972 primary for president. In response to Wheeler’s own price-control scheme, ACU’s favorite FCC chairman today rescinded Wheeler’s order. We are as proud of Chairman Ajit Pai’s courage to stand for free markets as we are of our own efforts to oppose Nixon’s overreach.

Indeed, the broadband marketplace has been a testament to the power of free market principles to fuel innovation, benefit consumers, and drive economic growth. Free from government mandates and micromanagement, the marketplace has brought us from dial-up into the gigabit era, with highly competitive pricing and more choice than we could have imagined a decade ago.

The marketplace for business data services is a case study in the benefits of free competition. There is more choice than ever – more than 600 providers across the country – and competition is drastically driving down prices, with some providers reporting 50% price cuts over the past five years. And this burst of competition has led to a burst of investment, with more than 100,000 miles of new fiber laid over three years by providers eager to reach new customers.

That’s why the previous FCC chairman’s effort to strangle this thriving marketplace with heavy-handed rate regulation made no sense. History teaches us well what happens when arrogant regulators and dictators start micromanaging thriving, competitive ecosystems: investment plummets, competition is stifled, and customers pay the price. It didn’t work for America when Nixon was president and it didn’t work for us under Obama either.

We’re glad Chairman Pai has slammed the brakes on his predecessor’s regulatory takeover. The proposal he’s considering instead will unleash market forces to attract even more investment and competition to this thriving marketplace.


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