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NCTA

February 25, 2015


Public Policy

The Top Five Ways Title II Hurts Consumers

February 25, 2015

Reclassifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II raises all kinds of concerns, but perhaps none are more important than the potential for Title II to harm everyday broadband users.

Here are the top five (or should it be bottom five?) ways Title II hurts consumers:

NNCable

Title II opens the door to FCC micromanagement of rates and practices

Although FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said there will be “no rate regulation” under Title II, that is not entirely true. The Commission plans to retain authority under section 201(b) of the Communications Act, which gives the agency authority to ensure that all rates and practices are reasonable. While some have suggested that this FCC oversight is helpful to consumers, that view is shortsighted. Under the proposed approach, any time an ISP introduces a new service or rate plan, it will have to anticipate defending the reasonableness of that offering before the FCC or in a court. The result will be that ISPs may be reluctant to offer newer, better services simply to avoid wrangling with the Commission about whether or not they are reasonable.

Title II raises the cost of providing broadband

In a variety of ways, introducing Title II regulation will raise the cost of providing today’s broadband services. For example, the fees that cable operators pay electric utilities to string their cable or fiber networks across poles could increase under Title II. ISPs also will experience increased administrative and legal costs attributable to complying with Title II. All of these additional costs would be passed down to consumers, raising their bills.

Title II will lead to a reduction in infrastructure investment

Title II imposes a whole new set of rules and regulations on Internet access services. Following those new rules inevitably will cost ISPs more money — money that could be used to improve infrastructure. Plus, with Title II comes an enormous amount of industry uncertainty. If regulations make an ISP’s investments riskier or less profitable, it’s far less likely to invest. The result will be fewer network advancements, fewer infrastructure improvements, and fewer new products. And if Title II creates a threat to infrastructure investment by established ISPs, the threat to potential new ISPs is even greater. Murky, unclear regulatory environments are the bane of the investor. If the goal is more broadband competition, the path there is certainly not more broadband regulation.

Title II could disrupt other segments of the Internet

One of the least understood consequences of the FCC’s move to impose Title II regulation on ISPs is the spillover effect it will have in other segments of the Internet. For example, in recent days companies like Google and Akamai have expressed concern about the impact regulation might have on their traffic exchange arrangements with ISPs. The FCC will be asserting itself in the Internet to an unprecedented degree and no one, including the FCC itself, has a complete grasp on the implications of that government intrusion for various Internet players and the customers they serve.

Title II will lead to new Internet taxes

They say the ‘T’ in Title II stands for taxes. A recent Progressive Policy Institute study showed that $11 billion in new taxes and fees could be added to the delivery and consumption of broadband. While this estimate has been somewhat controversial, and predicting how state and local governments will react to an FCC decision necessarily involves some speculation, we have no doubt that there will be situations where new taxes and fees will be imposed on broadband customers as a result of the reclassification of broadband service. Whatever the amount of these taxes and fees proves to be, there is no question that new taxes will directly affect consumers by raising the cost of broadband service and depressing interest among non-adopters.

NNCable

All of these problems (and many more not listed here) can be avoided if, instead of granting the FCC sweeping authority over the Internet with Title II, Congress establishes a bipartisan net neutrality law. We can have our cake and eat it too – net neutrality protections along with incentives to grow and flourish.

 

NCTA

February 25, 2015


Public Policy

Michael Powell on Fox Business Discussing Latest FCC Moves [VIDEO]

February 25, 2015

NCTA President & CEO Michael Powell was interviewed yesterday at Fox Business News, discussing the future of the Internet and the FCC’s role in regulating Internet policy. With only days before the FCC votes on its latest net neutrality plan, Michael again addressed the need for better Internet policy. He notes that the Title II solution likely to be adopted by the FCC will lead to years of net neutrality uncertainty – not the sensible rules the Internet needs.

NCTA

February 24, 2015


Public Policy

Michael Powell on CNBC Talking About the Future of Internet Regulation [VIDEO]

February 24, 2015

We’re just a few days away from the FCC’s vote on new Internet regulations. NCTA President & CEO Michael Powell was on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning discussing how the FCC’s proposal is likely to lead to litigation and create years of uncertainty. Powell goes on to say how we can have strong net neutrality protections without the burdens of Title II regulation if Congress can act, delivering a bipartisan solution that works for everyone.

See the VIDEO here:

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NCTA

February 23, 2015


Public Policy

What You Need to Know Before the FCC Votes on Net Neutrality

February 23, 2015

In April, the FCC issued its draft of proposed rule making on new Open Internet rules designed to replace those struck down by the DC Circuit court in January. Since then, a torrent of conversation and debate has taken place discussing those rules, the concept of net neutrality, broadband policy, and the role the FCC should play in the future of Internet regulation. To be clear, net neutrality is the principle that ISPs can’t block or throttle their customers’ web traffic and they can’t offer paid prioritization – also known as Internet ‘fast-lanes’ – that speed up one website’s traffic over another’s.

As we’ve said all along, the cable industry supports efforts to restore sensible net neutrality rules. Unfortunately, the Commission appears to have lost its way and is about to go way beyond open Internet rules toward a new regime that will put wireline, wireless and the Internet backbone under sweeping government controls. The impact will be more litigation, higher consumer prices, slower network innovation, and a compromised ability for America to insist on Internet freedoms around the world. We do not “solve” the net neutrality problem through Title II reclassification; we only spawn new problems that will divert policymakers’ attention for decades.

Title II is a significant regulatory overreach that goes far beyond enforceable rules which prevent practices that might threaten an open Internet. As a fact, it is a regime change – one that abandons the historic bipartisan approach to light-touch regulation in favor of a more muscular form of government control. Despite claims to the contrary the consequences of this decision are severe. Title II opens the door to new taxes and fees, rate regulation, class action lawsuits, and a host of other provisions that serve as a general disincentive to improving infrastructure and promoting competition. And while the FCC can forbear from certain parts of Title II, even the most vigorous spin from the Title II advocates can’t hide the fact that ISPs will be subject to a far more onerous regulatory regime than they have in the past.

While the FCC and its allies predictably are portraying this order as well within the agency’s authority, the reality is far different. In regulating retail ISP services and interconnection arrangements between ISPs and other networks, the FCC is moving into completely uncharted, and legally risky, territory. In other words, Title II means the debate and uncertainty will continue, possibly never delivering the clear, dependable net neutrality rules that everyone – ISPs, edge providers, and consumers – need in order to do business and succeed in the digital economy. We can expect legal challenges to play out over the coming years and a future FCC will again be stuck in this thorny situation.

Which brings us to where we stand on net neutrality. We believe the best way to get clear, enforceable, legal net neutrality rules is through bipartisan Congressional action. Congress can grant the Commission the legal authority needed to enforce net neutrality protections, without all of the baggage of Title II.

So while attention will be squarely focused on the FCC’s action this week, we believe the best outcome to finally solve this dilemma is for Congress to take up this mantle and deliver the permanent net neutrality that everyone says they want.

Julianne Twining

@juliannetwin

February 18, 2015


INTX: The Internet & Television Expo

Announcing INTX 24-Hour Hackathon in Chicago!

@juliannetwin

February 18, 2015

INTX is introducing a brand new event taking place at the show in Chicago this year: INTXHACK. It’s a 24-hour developer challenge that kicks off the Saturday before the show. Technologist, developers, and designers from across the media and entertainment industries will come together to compete in an epic battle to create innovative applications. INTXHACK,…

NCTA

February 13, 2015


Industry News

Powell on C-SPAN Discussing Net Neutrality [VIDEO]

February 13, 2015

NCTA Chairman and CEO Michael Powell was featured on C-SPAN’s The Communicators discussing the FCC’s proposed Net Neutrality rules, a history of how we got to where we are, and why Title II is an unnecessary path that will ultimately lead to litigation. Click here to watch the full video. The Communicators airs on C-SPAN Saturdays…

Michael Powell

@chairmanpowell

February 11, 2015


Public Policy

Empty Promises: Rate Regulation is Not Dead Yet

@chairmanpowell

February 11, 2015

FCC Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to regulate the Internet under Title II regulation is a radical shift in policy that will subject Internet access providers to significant and onerous regulation and could well depress investment and innovation. As we learn more of the details, the weight of this impending action becomes more troubling. In the massive…