Former FCC Chairman Powell: Title II’s Got To Go
NCTA’s ‘Spending Every Last Breath To Kill It’
INDIANAPOLIS, July 25, 2017 – Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell said the continued regulation of broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers, as if they were rotary telephone providers from the 1930s, will produce a disaster if not reversed soon.
Two years ago, the FCC adopted the common carrier model found in Title II of the Communications Act. Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced plans to reverse that ruling.
“Using that model would be a disaster for our industry,” Powell said. “This country will regret it, if it doesn’t reverse [Title II], when it looks back a decade from now. It will wonder how it made this mistake.”
Powell, who is President & CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, said his organization is “spending every last breath to kill” Title II classification of broadband Internet access.
“I don’t even remotely understand the case for Title II, other than there’s a bunch of folks who just never see a regulation they don’t like,” Powell said.
Powell’s comments came today in remarks here to hundreds of cable and broadband executives attending this year’s Independent Show hopeful that the common carrier designation will disappear as will the FCC’s vague and amorphous general conduct standard so fraught with uncertainty as to legal business activity.
“Title II is rate regulation,” Powell said “Title II is giving the FCC basically a blank slate to follow any newspaper headline of harm and open an investigation and slow the pace of what you do.”
ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka, who introduced Powell ahead of his exchange with Eagle Communications President Gary Shorman, said independent cable operators share Powell’s concerns about Title II and are focused on restoring an open Internet as proposed in the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
“ACA was very pleased that Michael Powell spoke today at this year’s Independent Show. We could not agree more with his analysis and recommendations. For ACA members, the onset of Title II raised borrowing costs and delayed capital construction. Some even wondered how far away the FCC might be from deciding it was time to use Title II authority to regulate retail broadband rates,” Polka said.
The Independent Show, now in its 12th year, is jointly organized and produced by ACA and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC). NCTC, based in Lenexa, Kan., negotiates with programming and equipment suppliers on behalf of hundreds multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) in the United States.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s 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/