In August 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requested public comment on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) petition for a rulemaking to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The petition was intended to add muster to an Executive Order encouraging online censorship.

On September 3, 2020, Next Century Cities filed comments to explain why investing time and resources into retaliatory policy explorations undermines the FCC’s central concern to connect every American to broadband. Millions of Americans in every corner of the U.S. continue to struggle with access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband. In turn, they are locked out of digital opportunities that improve educational outcomes, increase economic mobility, enable health care, and support civic engagement. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to have a stranglehold on vulnerable populations and local economies. 

The Federal Communications Commission should refuse NTIA’s request to open a rulemaking for the following reasons. 

  • The NTIA has exceeded its authority and is effectively asking the Commission to participate in a retaliatory campaign to regulate online speech. 
  • This petition clearly seeks to punish private entities for engaging in political speech, an unconstitutional request outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction. 
  • In its Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the Commission relinquished any authority to regulate online platforms, and cannot promulgate new rules to regulate the content hosted on social media platforms. 
  • Finally, and most importantly, the Commission should remain focused on bringing broadband within reach for the millions of Americans that still do not have affordable and reliable high-speed connections. 

Click here to review the September 2nd FCC filing.