Thursday, January 11, 2024

Communications Law and Policy Priorities for 2024

It’s usual at the beginning of the year to take stock, look ahead, and articulate priorities for the coming year, and perhaps beyond. Of course, we do that here at the Free State Foundation, not just because it’s usual, but because it is a good management practice that helps us focus more effectively on the tasks ahead. And, truth be told, we don’t just do it at the beginning of the year; we do it all year long.

There’s widespread agreement that, regarding communications law and policy, 2024 almost certainly will be challenging and consequential. In part this is because there is now a 3-2 Democrat majority at the FCC, so Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel will be able to move forward to consider items – think, for example, regulating Internet access providers as public utilities – that otherwise might well lack a majority. And, aside from that, 2024 is an election year. Election years present heightened opportunities for education and agenda-setting as public policy priorities are often fashioned and sharpened.

So, I want to call attention to the Free State Foundation’s just-published “Communications Law and Policy Priorities for 2024” compiled by FSF’s senior scholars. Please keep in mind that the Priorities document is not intended to be the “final word.” While it’s the way we see things now, the document necessarily is intended to be a “work in progress.” At the Free State Foundation, we take pride in our ability to anticipate what issues will become priorities that aren’t now and our agility to constantly reevaluate and look ahead.


Here are the top-line Priorities addressed in the document:


  •  Reject Public Utility Regulation of Internet Service Providers
  •  Require Proper Implementation of Massive Broadband Subsidies
  •  Reopen the Spectrum Pipeline and Act to Fill It
  •  Reform the Broken Universal Service Subsidy Regime
  •  Remove Outdated Video Regulations
  •  Establish a Uniform, National Privacy Framework
  •  Protect First Amendment Rights and Cultivate a Culture of Free Speech


For each of these, there are bullet points that elaborate and contain specific action items. But please understand that the intent here is not to “write a paper” on each one. That’s part of our week-to-week, month-to-month work.

I should add that at FSF, we also do important work that falls outside this “Communications Law and Policy” list, such as in the Intellectual Property, Constitutional Law, and Administrative Law areas.  

A final important word: On our website, we proclaim our mission to be “to promote, through research and educational activities, understanding of free market, free speech, limited government, and rule of law principles . . . and to advocate laws and policies true to these principles.”

In developing the priorities above, and in all our work, we do our best to remain faithful to those principles. So, in this regard, I keep top-of-mind Alexander Hamilton’s exhortation: “In disquisitions of every kind, there are certain primary truths, or first principles, upon which all subsequent reasoning must depend.”