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A free and open internet fosters innovation, competition, and economic growth

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

The importance of a safe and open internet cannot be overstated in an era where the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Mountain States Policy Center is proud to announce its commitment to supporting this cause, aligning with the James Madison Institute's insightful comments filed today on the Federal Communications Commission's proposed Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet Order (SSOIO). Our focus is on advocating for a free and open internet that fosters innovation, competition, and economic growth.

James Madison Institute's comprehensive analysis of the SSOIO notes the importance of standing strong against unnecessary regulations that may jeopardize the thriving internet ecosystem we currently enjoy.

Some will ask why it matters to be involved in such a topic. Here is why:

  • Embracing free market practices encourages healthy competition among internet service providers (ISPs), fostering innovation and driving economic growth.

  • A competitive marketplace stimulates investment, expanding high-speed internet infrastructure across the Mountain States region.

  • By advocating for a free and open internet, we support an environment where ISPs can provide affordable and high-quality internet services to residents of Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming.

  • Increased competition often leads to lower prices and improved service, ensuring that a broader population can access the benefits of a connected world.

  • Maintaining a Title I classification for ISPs ensures a light-touch regulatory environment, incentivizing private investment in broadband networks.

  • This investment is crucial for reaching remote and less profitable areas, helping bridge the digital divide across our vast and diverse region.

  • Mountain States Policy Center echoes concerns about the potential legal uncertainties associated with the SSOIO, emphasizing the need for unambiguous regulatory frameworks.

  • Legal clarity is vital for providing a stable environment that encourages investment, innovation, and sustained economic development.

  • By supporting the James Madison Institute's position, we emphasize the FCC's existing powers to address national security concerns without violating Title II regulations.

  • This approach ensures that the federal government has the necessary tools to protect America’s telecommunications networks from foreign adversaries.

As we've previously written and discussed, "Meantime, we now have the data to prove that the internet speed was improving before 2015 (pre-net neutrality), and continues to increase in this post-net neutrality world."

Average broadband speeds in the United States have increased dramatically over the past six years. Average mobile internet speeds are up more than 300%.

As stated in an Op-Ed by the James Madison Institute:

"As speeds increased, the average price of broadband fell, providing more Americans access to the benefits of connectivity. Studies of broadband pricing have shown between 2021 and 2022, the overall cost of broadband declined by almost 15%. Notably, these price declines occurred while the U.S. economy suffered record inflation, making affording everyday essentials a problem for American households. With lower prices, more Americans were able to receive what used to be a luxury and enjoy the benefits of connectivity."

By taking a firm stance in support of a safe and open internet, we look forward to working collaboratively with the FCC and other stakeholders to shape policies that reflect the unique needs and opportunities of the Mountain States region. By upholding the principles of limited government, free markets, and digital innovation, we aim to secure a vibrant and accessible internet for the benefit of all residents of our region and surrounding states.

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