PublishedSeptember 30, 2010

CCIA Praises House Chairman, Now Asking FCC For Net Neutrality Action

For many weeks, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman conducted an arduous and excruciating series of negotiations aimed at making peace among stakeholders in the net neutrality debate and trying to draft consensus telecommunications legislation.  It was an honorable and serious attempt, but it’s not surprising that fundamental differences among them could not be resolved.
Regardless of PR campaigns to the contrary open, competitive Internet access is something that some carriers will resist and never agree to in a form that is meaningful.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association represents a diverse array of communications and tech companies, which are interested in the FCC’s handling of broadband Internet access.  The following comments can be attributed to Ed Black, CCIA President & CEO:

“We are opposed to heavy-handed regulation, but FCC action to prevent possibly abusive private regulation by monopoly and duopoly companies is necessary.

“We agree with Chairman Waxman that the FCC should reassert its authority to adopt rules governing broadband Internet access. To the extent that broader telecom legislation may be desirable in the future, we look forward to working with the next Congress in a thorough and deliberative way.

“We appreciate Congress attempting to address net neutrality and to protect Internet users’ access to an open Internet. When Congress does revisit the Telecom Act with a focus on broadband access connections it would be unwise to change the law to handcuff the agency legally charged with protecting the public interest in telecommunications services  — the FCC.”

The following comments can be attributed to CCIA Vice President Cathy Sloan:

“The Republican response to Waxman’s staff draft demonstrates that even if they had lent their support, it would only be as a start down the road of prohibiting the FCC from upholding the public interest in access to critical broadband telecommunications infrastructure.  Certain Members have announced their opposition to the pro-competitive and pro-consumer non-discrimination provision in the draft.   Even though no legislation was introduced, some are imagining moral victory over the FCC’s plans to rely on existing statutory authority to protect the quality of public Internet access.

“But the problem is not this FCC; it’s the total void in safeguards for public broadband Internet access caused by massive agency deregulation over the last 10 years, a court decision in April, and the gross overreaction and lobbying blitz led by a few large corporations that oppose the FCC proposal for very minimal rules to ensure quality Internet access for everyone: households, small businesses, students, innovators, entrepreneurs and nonprofits.

“The FCC now has the best, most technologically sophisticated teams ever in place, and is well up to the job of protecting the public interest in broadband Internet access. CCIA trusts the FCC will follow through on its moderate measures involving this critical component of economic opportunity in the 21st century.”

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