For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, October 1, 2019 – ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on today’s ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s determination that broadband Internet access service is an information service:
“ACA Connects is pleased with the D.C. Circuit’s decision to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s determination that broadband Internet access service is an information service that should be lightly governed pursuant to a market-based approach. As our smaller broadband provider members told the FCC, subjecting ISPs to outdated common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act would deter them from investing in upgrades and expanding their broadband networks to roll out innovative, higher performance services. Imposing onerous Title II regulation also would provide no real benefit because ACA Connects members have voluntarily committed to not block, throttle, or otherwise degrade their subscribers’ Internet traffic, and they would have an ongoing obligation to disclose publicly their network management practices.
“While ACA Connects applauds the court for upholding the FCC’s classification decision, we are troubled by the court’s decision to vacate the FCC’s directive preventing state and local governments from adopting any requirements inconsistent with the FCC’s decision. It is universally agreed that no one provides broadband Internet access service solely within a state; Internet traffic is inherently interstate, if not global, in reach. The possibility that ISPs will need to deal with multiple state or local regulatory regimes would harm both consumers and providers. While we are considering our options, including further review, we will look to leadership within the FCC to promptly address the results of the court’s decision.
“Lastly, as we have said all along, Congress needs to step in and pass legislation that makes clear that no firm operating in the Internet eco-system – irrespective of its state or locality — may block or otherwise impair broadband Internet access subscribers from accessing lawful content, subject to reasonable network management practices. Further, this law should ensure that no firm in the Internet eco-system can harm consumers by engaging in anticompetitive acts or practices. These are positions that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can agree upon and can be imposed without Congress having to turn broadband providers into common carriers.”
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA Connects’ members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://acaconnects.org