The FCC this morning voted to begin a proceeding designed to determine sometime late next year the basic rules necessary to preserve open access to the robust public Internet in the face of exploding bandwidth demand and severe market concentration in the broadband last mile.
The largest network operators, which have been the only consistent opponents of this proceeding, are now experiencing significant disagreement among their senior executives regarding how to moderate their approach to this critical public interest issue. Neutral open access to the Internet is increasingly synonymous with innovation, economic opportunity and quality of life for all Americans.
The following is a statement by Ed Black, President and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association:
“This day represents a major step forward for consumers, innovation and economic growth, and we congratulate the FCC and its chairman for this initiative. The public Internet was launched, thrived and grew for more than 10 years under non-discriminatory access rules. Only recently have non-discrimination rules been muddied by court and regulatory decisions in anticipation of ISP competition that has not matured beyond duopoly. Fortunately, all of the FCC Commissioners agreed on the need to move forward with this healthy process to find the best balance among the goals of broadband investment, reasonable network management, innovation everywhere and reliable high quality end user Internet access upon which all users large and small have come to depend.”
“We applaud Verizon’s progressive attempts to find common ground with other sectors of the Internet ecosystem, and its joint declaration with Google on several key points of agreement, including that customers—not network operators—should have the final say when it comes to their online experience. We are also encouraged by the support for an open Internet voiced yesterday in Chicago by an AT&T executive. However, these bright spots have been overshadowed in recent weeks by the full force of a huge corporate lobbying machine that has overstepped the bounds of decency and fairness with its blatant attempts to intimidate a new agency head.”
“We hope the Commission’s focus today on collegiality and rigorous fact-based decision making will serve as a new model for more constructive debate and resolution of critical questions involving the future of Internet access and communications in America.”