Free market meets net neutrality

In a Capitol Hilton ballroom last week, Chip Pickering, CEO of the telecommunications trade group Incompas and a former GOP congressman from Mississippi, argued on an economic conference panel that Republicans deserve credit for the competitive nature of the tech world.

“If you look historically — 1984, who broke up AT&T? It was Ronald Reagan,” Pickering said. “If you look at the current open internet policy that was just adopted by the last [Federal Communications Commission] chairman — who gave him the blueprint to do so? [Supreme Court] Justice [Antonin] Scalia.”

These days, it’s uncommon to see a Republican arguing in favor of the FCC’s open internet rules, more commonly known as net neutrality, a set of regulations passed during the Obama administration that are now on the chopping block in the new Republican-controlled FCC.

Pickering, who still considers himself a fiscal conservative, sees net neutrality as the “last great battle” in competition policy.

The Hill
6/13/17