Statement of Michael Powell, President & CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association Regarding Legislation That Would Codify Broadband Networks Under Title II Public Utility Regulation

“Twenty years into an increasingly stale debate over net neutrality, the justifications for it seem increasingly limp. The breathless assertions over the years that the internet is gravely threatened because ISPs would block or throttle traffic and erect toll booths to charge internet companies to reach consumers have proven hollow and unrealized. The claim that ISPs would not invest in expanding capacity and speed wilts in the shadow of massive expansion to gigabit networks today with efforts driving rapidly to 10G networks in a few years. Similarly, the wireless industry is in the middle of a massive expansion of 5G networks. These facts hardly align with the corroded narrative that ISPs are motivated to create scarcity on their networks to hold internet companies or consumers hostage. The case is particularly thin to justify the famed “nuclear option” to reclassify carriers under Title II utility regulation which empowers the FCC with the authority to go big on new regulation. In the wake of the once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure bill, we need to be focused collectively on closing the digital divide and not taking a ride on the net neutrality carousel for the umpteenth time for no discernable reason. Building broadband to unserved parts of this country is a massive, complex, and expensive undertaking. Slapping an outdated and burdensome regulatory regime on broadband networks surely will damage the mission to deploy next-generation internet technology throughout America and get everyone connected.”