I just saw that CTIA filed an ex parte regarding a meeting held with Chairman Ajit Pai's wireline advisor, Nirali Patel. CTIA's ex parte says that it "reiterated that the Commission’s recent Text-Enabled Toll Free Number Declaratory Rulingis sufficient to protect toll-free subscribers in the vibrant, competitive and innovative messaging marketplace, and that further Commission action is unnecessary to maintain the rights of toll-free subscribers and protect consumers from unwanted messages." CTIA further states that "text messaging is an interstate information service – and the record confirms that the Text-Enabled Toll Free Number NPRM’sproposal to impose regulations in the messaging market would be inconsistent with the Commission’s light-touch regulatory approach to interstate information services. "
Free State Foundation Senior Fellow Seth Cooper and I filed comments in response to the Text-Enabled Toll Free Number NPRM. In those comments, we explained, in considerable detail, why we agreed with CTIA's two points above.
This is a proceeding that begs for the exercise of regulatory modesty on the Commission's part. There is no gainsaying that, in general, the present Commission, led by Chairman Pai, has been a model for regulatory modesty. In our Text-Enabledcomments, we pointed out that Chairman Pai affirmed his commitment to regulatory restraint at a Free State Foundation event in December 2016 when he declared: “Indeed, proof of market failure should guide the next Commission's consideration of new regulations.”
Our comments in response to the Text-Enabled Toll Free Number NPRMclosed this way:
Clarifying that text messaging services are “information services” – which we believe they are – is a necessary first step in deciding whether, or to what extent, the Commission even has authority for its proposed rulemaking. In any event, given the Commission’s admittedly questionable legal authority to regulate text messaging services, the lack of evidence of a market failure or consumer harm requiring regulatory intervention at this time, and ongoing self-regulatory efforts, the Commission should refrain from imposing any new regulatory mandates in this proceeding.
So, certainly we are in accord with CTIA's statement that "further Commission action is unnecessary to maintain the rights of toll-free subscribers and protect consumers from unwanted messages."