This week at the American Cable Association’s 24th Summit in Washington, D.C., FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly offered attendees a reiteration of his opinions around the Commission’s decision in 2015 to reclassify broadband internet access as a telecom service and subject it to Title II regulation. If you’ve been following this issue, you know O’Rielly was decidedly against the original ruling, and at ACA’s meeting he noted he hopes the FCC will revisit the issue relatively soon. He sounds pretty confident it will.
“I’ve said publicly that I didn’t agree with the decision that was made. I hope we will have opportunity to reopen that decision this year. I suspect we will,” O’Rielly comments.
Specifically, O’Rielly stressed that he disagrees “quite strenuously with the ban on paid prioritization, and I disagree with the General Conduct standard. I think these are really harmful policies and problematic for future communications policies.”
O’Rielly also spoke about the House of Representatives vote that occurred earlier this week to reject the FCC’s broadband privacy rules. Given his past opposition to the rules that were issued last October during former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s tenure, O’Rielly’s comments were not surprising.
“I didn’t agree with the decision at the time and had quite a lengthy dissent. I think it was incredibly problematic how it attempted to bifurcate the industry,” O’Rielly explains. “I have a totally different vision than the former Chairman.”
O’Rielly also suggested to ACA’s independent cable operator members that he’s ready to reverse the FCC’s decision to require Charter to overbuild other providers. Last May, the FCC approved Charter’s mergers with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks with a host of conditions, including one requiring Charter to deploy broadband internet access service (BIAS) of 60 Mbps or more to at least 1 million locations in areas already served by BIAS providers offering speeds of at least 25 Mbps.
“There’s something that’s completely problematic from my viewpoint and something hopefully that we’re going to address,” O’Rielly notes. “Having a provider forced into building into other providers is very problematic in my opinion.”
The commissioner also urged the association to bring its concerns directly to the FCC. “Come to me with top 10 things that you believe the Commission can do to make your life easier − that are no longer necessary and are required by statute, and that don’t necessarily cause other industry segments to have a heart attack,” he says.
ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka pledged to provide that list and invite O’Rielly to the Summit again next year.
Filed Under: Industry regulations