House Unanimously Supports Current Internet Governance Model
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What makes the Internet unique is its interconnectedness. This characteristic has helped catalyze the explosive growth of the Internet in recent decades, enabling multiple stakeholders—from businesses to civil society to governments and to universities—to collaborate and foster unprecedented development and innovation in a wide range of industries. Under this multi-stakeholder governance structure, the Internet has gone from an academic novelty to the lynchpin of the global economy. From mom-and-pop startups using their cell phones for inventory management to Fortune 500 companies building international supply chains, the Internet has undoubtedly spurred global prosperity.
However, the current Internet governance structure that has fueled decades of free enterprise—and the innovation, creativity, and growth fostered by it— is currently facing challenges. Later this year, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) will consider proposals to revise the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) regulations, which govern the arrangements for exchanging international telecommunications traffic among countries. At the top of this agenda will be proposals to expand the ITU’s influence to regulate the Internet, a move that would upend the current, successful multi-stakeholder governance model and set a negative precedent for unnecessary top-down international regulation of the internet. This unprecedented and unwarranted expansion only create hurdles to innovative and creative businesses of all sizes across the world, from Silicon Valley to Main Street to Tokyo to Bollywood, stifling growth when it is most needed in the global economy.
Last week, the House of Representatives approved a resolution (H.Con.Res 127) that calls on the Administration to preserve and advance the multi-stakeholder process of Internet governance. Led by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), it was approved by a vote of 414-0 (yes, you read that right, 414 to 0).
This bipartisan, unanimous vote sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that the United States will continue to stand by our “consistent and unequivocal policy… to preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today.” The U.S. Chamber applauds Congress for taking this firm stand and commends Rep. Bono Mack for her leadership on this important issue.