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    Protecting Free Speech from FCC Regulation

    The First Amendment won big at the end of February. Due to an avalanche of public opposition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cancelled the so-called Critical Information Needs study. Americans across the political spectrum joined ranks to make two things clear. First, the government has no place in the newsroom. And second, the American people—not the FCC—should decide what information is important.

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    Robert McDowell: Champion of Liberty, Innovation, and Competition

    From the Diaries…

    As you may have heard, my colleague and FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has announced that he will be leaving the FCC in the next few weeks. This is a loss not just for the FCC, but for everybody who believes in Internet freedom. Rob has been one of the most important and eloquent champions of free-market conservatism in our time.

    I have had the privilege of working with Rob for several years, first as a lawyer in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel and now as a fellow Commissioner. In that time, I have come to know Rob as a colleague and as a friend. Before he steps down, I want conservatives to know about the terrific work he’s done to modernize communications regulation and defend liberty.

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    Too Much Government, Too Little Spectrum

    From the diaries…

    When conservatives complain about the federal government, we all know the usual litany. The government spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much, and regulates too much. But there is another “too much” most people don’t even know about: The federal government controls too much spectrum.

    Why is this important? Well, when you make a call on your cellphone, you’re using spectrum. When you listen to the radio or watch broadcast television, you’re using spectrum. And when you surf the Internet, send a text, download an app, watch a movie, or play a game on your smartphone or tablet, you’re using spectrum. Put simply, our daily lives are ever more dependent on the airwaves over which communications signals travel.

    But guess who controls a majority of the best spectrum, the spectrum most suitable for mobile broadband? It’s the federal government itself. Almost 60 percent of that spectrum is in federal hands, primarily used by federal agencies for their own purposes.

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    Winning the IP Future

    From the diaries, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

    I have the privilege of serving as a new Republican Commissioner at the FCC. Every day, I walk into a building where people think about technology policy. However, outside of a small policy community, few people seem to realize just how crucial tech policy is, and will be, to our nation’s future.

    To his credit, RedState’s Neil Stevens has recognized this and done yeoman’s work in raising awareness of tech policy through his Tech At Night series. Neil understands that our economy and society will be shaped—or reshaped—by communications issues like the Internet transformation, spectrum policy, and the scope of the FCC’s regulatory authority. These issues are as important as they are complex, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss them with you here at RedState from time to time.

    Today, let’s talk about the Internet transformation. This is really two different things—a technology revolution and a regulatory transition. The technology revolution already is well underway, but the regulatory transition is still struggling to get started. This should tell you something about the (in)ability of regulators to keep up with markets.

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