Alaska House - Oppose HB 277 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Alaska House - Oppose HB 277

State Action

February 15, 2018

Dear Legislators,

On behalf of the 4,207 members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Alaska, I urge you to reject HB 277.  This proposed legislation would create instability and uncertainty for internet service providers (ISPs) and result in wasted tax dollars.

This bill is a direct and misguided reaction to the December 14, 2017 adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  The order simply restored the internet’s proper classification as an information service, as was intended under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the agreement between then-President Bill Clinton and Congress to regulate the internet with a light touch.

The internet developed and flourished in that environment and became one of the greatest innovations in history, creating millions of jobs and creating a global explosion in technological innovation.  However, in February 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to impose a heavy-handed regulatory scheme on the internet, originally intended to control a landline, copper-wire telephone monopoly in 1934.  These regulations did nothing to promote internet freedom, but instead stifled innovation and investment, and were particularly harmful to small and rural internet service providers (ISPs), including providers doing business in Alaska.

The internet is not contained within a single state’s boundaries and therefore the participants in the internet ecosystem, including ISPs, can be regulated only by the federal government under the Commerce Clause, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.  There is little doubt that this bill is preempted by federal law, and that taxpayer funds would be completely wasted footing the bill for a certain loss in federal court.   

Efforts to undermine the FCC’s order, like HB 277, would result in 50 different regulatory schemes for the internet, which would be impossible to navigate. 

Broadband providers and consumers need predictability and stability on the internet, not a maze of rules and regulations.  HB 277 is both costly and unnecessary.  It should be rejected.



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