The Internet Doesn't Need Phone-Era Rules
Originally published in USA Today, January 16th, 2014 & on LinkedIn Pulse, January 17th, 2014
by NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell
Americans deserve an open Internet: They had it before the D.C. Court decision, and they will continue to enjoy it now.
The court’s decision held that the FCC plays an important role in promoting a vibrant Internet with sufficient authority to police bad actors. Some are unsatisfied and want the FCC to retreat from its bipartisan policy of light regulation and dump Internet services into the heavy regulatory bucket of the old-monopoly telephone system. The FCC would gain more power, but the Internet would suffer.
One must ask, is the Internet so sick that it needs a heavy injection of rules and regulations to fix it? The answer is no.
By nearly any objective measure, the U.S. is a world leader in broadband. We are one of only two countries to have three fully deployed broadband technologies actively competing against one another (cable, telephone and 4G LTE wireless). And we have some of the most advanced networks in the world — connections capable of 100 Mbps and faster are available to 85% of U.S. homes. U.S. broadband networks have given rise to the world’s top Web companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter. New exciting start-ups are born every day.
The U.S. invests more in broadband networks than any other country — more than $1 trillion since the mid 1990s. Americans are just 4% of the world’s population, but we have 25% of the world’s broadband investment.
We have an “open Internet.” Broadband providers continue to support the principles that allow consumers to access lawful websites when, where and how they choose. Providers support these concepts because they are what customers demand, and they are good for business.
Reclassifying the Internet and applying telephone-era rules would choke off growth and investment. It would treat broadband as a common carrier service, giving the FCC far-reaching power to regulate rates and set economic terms and conditions for the markets. It would fracture the confidence that our national broadband policy rests squarely on a light regulatory foundation. Network investment would suffer, and the push to reach more households would slow.
The FCC clearly has sufficient authority to protect consumers from harm and preserve the principles of openness we all share. We shouldn’t let imaginary tales of apocalypse lead us to abandon the light regulatory model that has served the nation so well.
Article on USAToday.com can be found here
Post on Linkedin.com can be found here