ACA Plan Protects Open Internet Minus Heavy Title II Burdens
PITTSBURGH, February 24, 2015 – Municipal broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) across the country expressed support for the American Cable Association’s proposal to protect the open Internet without subjecting smaller ISPs to unnecessary burdens under Title II rules of the Communications Act. ACA set forth this proposal in an ex parte letter on February 19 memorializing a meeting with Federal Communications Commission officials.
Should the FCC move forward with reclassifying broadband Internet access as a common carrier service subject to Title II of the Communications Act, the ACA proposal would subject smaller ISPs to Chairman Wheeler’s three bright line Open Internet rules – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization – but have the FCC forbear from applying many of the sections of Title II, including Sections 201(b) and 202, which are unnecessary to protect the open Internet and impose onerous burdens on small providers.
Municipal broadband Internet service providers issued the following statements:
“As a municipal broadband Internet service provider, I appreciate the FCC’s efforts to ensure that consumers have competitive choices for broadband Internet service. We operate our businesses in a challenging economic environment and being subject to unnecessary and unreasonable government requirements is counterproductive. That is why we back the open Internet proposal put forth by the American Cable Association. We have no objections to Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to subject our service to three bright line Open Internet rules – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization – but it is just as critical for the FCC to forbear from imposing other Title II requirements, particularly Sections 201(b) and 202, which permit rate and service regulation and introduce significant regulatory uncertainty which will harm our ability to invest in our networks and communities. Without this forbearance, the FCC’s Open Internet rules will represent a real setback for municipal broadband Internet service providers,” said Ben Lovins, SVP Telecom Division, Jackson Energy Authority.
“We appreciate the seriousness with which the FCC is approaching the concerns of smaller ISPs about the burdens of applying Title II rules to them. Without such relief, smaller municipal ISPs will be greatly harmed. The FCC has before it a balanced proposal from the American Cable Association which would subject smaller ISPs to Chairman Wheeler’s three bright line net neutrality principles – no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization – but have it forbear from Sections 201(b), 202, 206, 207, 208 and 209. If ACA’s proposal is adopted, the FCC’s actions on Feb. 26 will be a victory for municipal broadband customers across the country,” said Richard Arnold, Chief Executive Office, Conway Corporation.
“We support the FCC’s attention to the concerns of municipal broadband Internet service providers, but it would be counterproductive to then saddle these operators with unnecessary and burdensome Title II requirements when it adopts open Internet rules. I understand that in other cases the FCC has recognized that smaller ISPs have unique needs and that rules should be tailored to minimize burdens. I urge it to follow this course here and forbear from those provisions of Title II that are not needed to address key open Internet concerns,” said John Higginbotham, Assistant General Manager – Cable/Telecommunications, Frankfort Plant Board.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 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/