Wisconsin - Oppose Assembly Bill 788 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Wisconsin - Oppose Assembly Bill 788

State Action


February 8, 2018

Dear Legislators,

On behalf of the 38,731 members of Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Wisconsin, I urge you to reject Assembly Bill 788.  This proposed legislation would create instability and uncertainty for internet service providers (ISPs) and result in wasted tax dollars.

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.

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which restored the internet’s proper classification as an information service, as was intended in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  It was under this light-touch regulation that the internet thrived and became one of the greatest innovations in history, as well as creating millions of high-paying jobs. 

The FCC order also reinstated the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ability to investigate privacy and consumer protection violations by ISPs, and strengthens its enforcement capabilities by enhancing transparency requirements.  Any ISP infringing upon consumer privacy or engaging in otherwise unfair conduct can be held accountable for its actions. 

Efforts to undermine the FCC’s order and usurp the FTC’s authority, like Assembly Bill 788, would result in 50 different regulatory schemes for the internet, which would be impossible to navigate.  There is little doubt that such a bill is preempted by federal law, and that taxpayer funds would be completely wasted footing the bill for a certain loss in federal court.   

Broadband providers and consumers need predictability and stability on the internet, not a maze of rules and regulations.  Assembly Bill 788 is both costly and unnecessary.  It should be rejected.




Thomas A. Schatz


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