FCC Chairman Pai on Wednesday outlined a new plan to repeal the FCC’s 2015 Title II regulations. The move – which you can read more about here – was half expected, but the reactions from both industry and advocates have been swift and fierce.
The move – perhaps predictably – was immediately cheered by ISPs like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon, as well as industry groups like the NCTA – The Internet and Television Association.
Shortly after Pai’s announcement, Comcast released a statement saying it “fully” supports reversal of Title II classification, calling the regulation an “outdated” statute that “harms consumers by creating a cloud over broadband investment decisions and innovation.” But Comcast was quick to note that reversal of Title II would not equate to a dearth of open internet protections.
“To be clear, we continue to strongly support a free and open internet and the preservation of modern, strong, and legally enforceable net neutrality protections,” Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts says in a statement. “We don’t block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content delivered over the internet, and we are committed to continuing to manage our business and network with the goal of providing the best possible consumer experience.”
NCTA CEO Michael Powell added his praise for Pai’s move as well, but included both Comcast’s reassurances on open internet protections as well as a call for Congress to take decisive action on the matter.
“Reversing the classification of internet services will not change the commitment of cable ISPs to provide an open internet experience for our customers. We do not block, throttle, or otherwise interfere with consumers’ desire to go where they want on the internet. A more modern regulatory framework will not change our commitment to such practices,” Powell comments. “While we applaud and support Chairman Pai’s call to correct past mistakes through the rulemaking process, we are mindful that only Congress has the power to conclusively settle this debate and provide the FCC with clear authority to enforce specific open internet principles.”
Interestingly, that call for Congressional action was echoed by the opposition as well.
CALinnovates Executive Director Mike Montgomery observed net neutrality’s fate has been uncertain for too long “due to changes in leadership and politics.” The only path to stability, he said, is action from Congress to “provide innovators with a level playing field and industry with the certainty to make technology and investment decisions.”
Other net neutrality advocates vowed to fight Pai’s plan every step of the way.
Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said gutting the Title II regulations will rob Americans of “protections that preserve their access to the open and free internet,” and called on Pai to back off.
“If Ajit Pai thinks that destroying net neutrality is going to be easy, he’s very, very wrong,” Digital rights group Fight for the Future said in a statement. “Internet users will fight tooth and nail to defend our basic right to connect, create, learn, and share.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations