Donald Trump just picked two opponents of Net Neutrality to craft a strategy on issues like an open internet and the future of the Federal Communications Commission. With the move, the President-elect has officially put the internet –as we know it– in the crosshair.
The newly tapped aides Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison will oversee the transition of the FCC.
News of Eisenach’s role came as Trump’s senior transition advisers briefed key leaders in the tech sector today about their next steps. Eisenach is an outspoken antagonist of net neutrality who has criticized the Obama administration’s efforts on keeping the internet open for all, public broadband investment and more.
He’s also been the source of controversy. The New York Times in August called out Eisenach for his opposition research on net neutrality, some of which has been funded by companies like Verizon and other telecom interests that oppose the FCC’s rules.
Eisenach has also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in recent years in opposition to the FCC net neutrality rules, which remain the subject of a court battle with telecom firms.
“Net neutrality regulation cannot be justified on grounds of enhancing consumer welfare or protecting the public interest,” Eisenach said.
Mark Jamison is also an avid crusader against net neutrality. He recently described its rules as “economics-free regulations for the Internet,” saying that such rules should only be adopted “if there is actual evidence of monopoly.”
“Net neutrality in the US is backfiring,” Jamison wrote. “There are two basic reasons for the failure. One is that net neutrality policy has lost its focus and is now a growing miscellany of ex ante regulations that frequently work against the entrepreneurs and consumers the rules are intended to help. The second reason is that the net neutrality mindset is locked into a fading paradigm in which networks are distinct from computing and content. Facebook, Netflix, and Google are investing in customized networks and, in doing so, demonstrating that next-generation breakthroughs will leap beyond the old mindset.”
About a year and a half ago, democracy and the internet won a major victory when the FCC voted down party lines to reclassify broadband and to prevent states from limiting competition in broadband service. Those victories came after tons of online and offline protesting and activism.