(LifeSiteNews) — A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner has strongly denounced the Biden Administration’s alarming plan, under the guise of establishing “digital equity,” to “give the ‘Administrative State effective control of all internet services and infrastructure,’” calling it “sweeping, unprecedented, and unlawful.”
“President Biden has called on the FCC to issue a sweeping set of new regulations in the name of ‘digital equity,’” noted Commissioner Brendan Carr on X. “For the first time ever, those rules would empower the Administrative State to micromanage nearly every aspect of how the Internet functions.”
“I am a no,” he added.
President Biden has called on the FCC to issue a sweeping set of new regulations in the name of “digital equity.”
For the first time ever, those rules would empower the Administrative State to micromanage nearly every aspect of how the Internet functions.
I’m a no. pic.twitter.com/jHuhH9KWcV
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) November 10, 2023
The Democrat-controlled FCC is scheduled to vote on the measure on Wednesday, November 15.
In a lengthy, scorching statement, Carr has attempted to alert the American people to the alarming nature of President Biden’s “unlawful power grab,” which would forever change the internet and how it functions.
The new rules, said Carr, “would give the federal government a roving mandate to micromanage nearly every aspect of how the Internet functions—from how ISPs allocate capital and where they build, to the services that consumers can purchase; from the profits that ISPs can realize and how they market and advertise services, to the discounts and promotions that consumers can receive. Talk about central planning.”
Carr warned that Congress never intended for the federal government to allow the “sweeping regulatory regime” that Biden is asking the FCC to adopt.
“The Biden Administration’s plan empowers the FCC to regulate every aspect of the Internet sector for the first time ever,” explained Carr. “The plan is motivated by an ideology of government control that is not compatible with the fundamental precepts of free market capitalism.”
“But it gets worse,” he continued. “The FCC reserves the right under this plan to regulate both ‘actions and omissions, whether recurring or a single instance.’ In other words, if you take any action, you may be liable, and if you do nothing, you may be liable. There is no path to complying with this standardless regime. It reads like a planning document drawn up in the faculty lounge of a university’s Soviet Studies Department.”
Unbounded liability for unintentional discrimination
Carr went on to detail just how far reaching this new regulatory regime would be, extending far beyond businesses exclusively engaged in internet services, sweeping entire industries within the FCC’s jurisdiction for the first time in the agency’s 90-year history:
Landlords are now covered, construction crews are now covered, marketing agencies are now covered, banks are now covered, the government itself is now covered—all newly regulated by the FCC and liable for any act or omission that the agency determines has an impermissible impact on a consumer’s access to broadband.
Congress never authorized the FCC to regulate these industries or entities. So, to all the businesses and individuals that will be subject to FCC regulation for the first time ever, welcome, I hope you have good lawyers.
Appallingly, President Biden’s plan allows the FCC to impose unfunded build mandates on ISPs and unlimited monetary fines on every covered entity.
“It imposes no ceiling on the level of potential fines. This means that ISPs could very well be compelled to build out Internet infrastructure without any compensation,” wrote Carr.
The Biden plan also includes price controls and an “expansive and disfavored theory of liability that Congress neither directed nor authorized the FCC to adopt,” aimed at preventing and eliminating “‘digital discrimination’ based on income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, or national origin.”
Put differently, the plan’s ambiguous wording would allow government overlords free rein in requiring American businesses to do work without compensation, and expose them to unbounded liability for whatever the government regulators choose to deem “digital discrimination.”
Carr is not alone in his grave concern.
“Biden is turning ‘digital discrimination’ into a pretext for regulating everything,” warned Phil Kerpen, the president of American Commitment, on X.
A former FCC policy adviser, Evan Swarztraube, has also sounded the alarm about Biden’s plan. “To call it ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ doesn’t do this proposal justice. It includes price controls, forced buildout of broadband regardless of ROI [Return On Investment], and more.”
Redacted News called the move “equivalent to Soviet era planning and control” and “almost mafia-style control.”
“The internet will literally become state-run. That’s terrifying,” said co-host Natali Morris. “The internet will belong to the government.”
“This will change the internet forever,” said Clayton Morris. “Do you want the Biden Administration … allowing you to see what they want you to see?”
Morris said emphatically that this is not a “conspiracy theory.”
“These are the same people that use the IRS to go after political opponents,” he said.
The Biden Regime plan advances “ideology” over real progress, improvement
After nearly two years and several rounds of comments, the FCC’s draft order concludes that “there is little or no evidence” in the agency’s record to even indicate that there has been any intentional discrimination in the broadband market within the meaning of the statute.
But instead of proceeding with forward-looking rules on that basis, the FCC—at President Biden’s direction—reads an expansive and disfavored theory of liability into the law that exists nowhere in the statutory text.
Even in the absence of any evidence of intentional discrimination, the Biden plan states the FCC can impose potentially unbounded liability if the agency finds that some act or even failure to act happened to result in a disparate impact based on the FCC’s own judgment. Reading this theory of liability into the law conflicts with the Supreme Court’s civil rights precedent. The FCC should not adopt it.
In the end, the FCC could have adopted rules that lawfully and faithfully implemented Congress’s decisions in the Infrastructure Act. The FCC could have taken concrete steps that would have extended high-speed Internet services to more Americans … including eliminating government-imposed barriers and regulatory red tape that have been slowing down broadband builds. But instead of going that route, the FCC opts for this ideological approach instead.
Read FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr’s full statement here.