Together with NCTA Executive Vice President James Assey, the four FCC Commissioners, Jessica Rosenworcel, Mignon Clyburn, Ajit Pai, and Mike O’Rielly, sat down and candidly discussed some critical telecom topics of the day here at INTX.
Rosenworcel said early, “The American Internet economy is the envy of the world, built on a foundation of openness.” And though she was supportive earlier this year of the FCC’s move to re-classify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, she was quick to note the complicated nature of the solution. Rosenworcel said at one point, “Lawyers and legislators alike will be busy.”
More notably critical of the Title II reclassification, Pai expressed deeper concern with new the regulatory model. He said rather than being governed by “engineers and technologists, the Internet will be managed by lawyers and lobbyists.”
The discussion moved onto more than just Title II and net neutrality. Commissioners found common ground in supporting programs that make broadband available to rural regions and underprivileged families. Pai recognized the leadership of the cable industry in delivering the Internet through programs like Connect to Compete which offer reduced prices for broadband and computers to qualifying families. Rosenworcel and O’Rielly also talked about their shared vision of the need for more Wi-Fi spectrum.
The four commissioners noted the importance and lasting role of private companies in maintaining and evolving the Internet. On building the Internet’s valuable infrastructure, Rosenworcel said, “When it comes to deployment of infrastructure, its very clear to me that the private sector leads the way.”
All commissioners noted the role the cable industry has played in building America’s broadband networks.