Current internet laws make way for innovation

As Published in: Des Moines Register

The letter to the editor, “The First Amendment should include digital content” conflates constitutional protections against governmental interference with free speech with governmental intervention in free enterprise.

Across our dynamic U.S. economy, competition spurs innovation, drives consumer choice up and consumer prices down. In the last two decades, fast-paced innovation — triggered by the internet — has disrupted commerce and entertainment, including the way Americans shop, communicate, digest news and pay their bills. From online banking to dating, taking classes, streaming music and movies or surfing social media, the internet has reshaped American life and the way we exchange ideas.

The debate over the Open Internet Order of 2015 is being driven by those who believe government knows best. In our experience, that’s not what works best for moving America forward. In fact, the internet grew into a vibrant venue for speech and commerce because it was allowed to develop unhindered.

Representing Iowa means that we pay careful attention to how public policy affects those who live and work in Rural America. From federal spending formulas to federal regulations that impact health care, transportation, energy, education and infrastructure, we work hard to make sure Iowans don’t get the short end of the stick. The same goes for accessible and affordable broadband services. We have seen investments stifled in Iowa because of the 2015 rule.

We don’t support the Obama-era overly prescriptive regulations using a 1930s law — targeting Bell Telephone that treated internet companies and internet service providers differently — which could lead to the government dictating the price of products and services. We do support bipartisan efforts that would foster competition, innovation and consumer choice. That’s why we will continue working to keep the internet an open, dynamic resource for all American consumers, no matter where they live.

U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst