By Reuben Franco
The Internet is the most important economic driver of our time and has seen an extensive wave of innovation in just the last few decades. California’s economy depends heavily on the tech sector. In 2017 alone, California’s tech industry created 43,600 jobs and contributed $385.8 billion – 16 percent – to the state’s economy. Almost 10 percent of the state’s workforce is employed in net tech.
That is why reinstating recently repealed federal net neutrality rules, also known as Title II, would be a major mistake and felt hardest in states like California whose economies rely on the tech sector. Although the state has pursued ways to protect its tech industry, including its own net neutrality law, continued success and development is dependent on an effectively-governed Internet. Particularly, one that ensures an open and free marketplace, without heavy-handed regulation and overreaching government oversight, to spur continued innovation, economic growth and job creation.
Some lawmakers are attempting to turn this important debate into a political issue for scoring points in the upcoming midterm election. Rather than focusing on passing comprehensive legislation that would actually ensure a fair and open Internet, they have pushed forward a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). It is a political stunt used solely as a partisan, arbitrary, and underhanded move that disregards formal debate and public input. It would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of utility-style regulations on the Internet that would have subjected it to Depression-era rules.