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Net NeutralityPublic Policy

What's at Stake When the Open Internet Goes on Trial?

September 9, 2013

Today, the federal appeals court in Washington, DC heard arguments in a closely watched case in which Verizon Communications is challenging the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet order.  We aren’t in the business of predicting the outcome of judicial hearings and don’t intend to start now.  But no matter how the case comes out, cable broadband customers should have confidence that they will continue to enjoy the same fast and open Internet experience that millions of Americans cherish every day.

The cable industry has consistently endorsed – and fostered the development of – an open Internet.  Long before the FCC’s adoption of net neutrality rules, the cable industry made clear that it does not – and would not – block our customers’ ability to access lawful Internet content, applications or services.

Critics have argued that cable has the incentive to limit access to online video. In fact, cable has invested over $200 billion in upgrading our broadband networks that have enabled streaming video services to succeed and grow. Consumers now expect the ability to enjoy online video and cable has consistently provided a robust nationwide platform that allows it.

The rapid growth in the development of broadband networks are changing the way we live and allowing consumers to enjoy an amazing array of applications, content and services.  Even without prophylactic net neutrality rules, broadband providers would retain a strong incentive to ensure that consumers have the high-speed connections they need to access these offerings.   And if instances of anticompetitive conduct do occur, agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have the necessary authority to police it.  Thus, even if the FCC loses today’s case and its rules are overturned, one thing that will not change is consumers’ access to an open, growing and vibrant Internet.