PITTSBURGH, November 15, 2023 – At today’s open meeting, the FCC voted to approve digital discrimination rules pursuant to Section 60506 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act). The following statement regarding the vote may be attributed to ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer:
“In the Infrastructure Act, Congress entrusted the FCC with adopting rules to facilitate equal access to broadband service, including by preventing and eliminating digital discrimination. ACA Connects Members support these objectives, as demonstrated by their proven record of service to their communities and continued efforts to increase broadband access. Regretfully, the FCC appears to have followed through with its proposal to implement this well-intentioned provision by adopting a poorly designed set of rules that will fundamentally undermine its own stated purpose. As we have explained, these rules will deter investment, innovation, and deployment for reasons that do little to address any sort of discrimination at the expense of the precise consumers they intend to help.
Smaller providers, in particular, will find this regime nearly impossible to navigate. With virtually every business decision under the FCC’s microscope, they will rack up legal bills and other compliance costs. And, perhaps most importantly for consumers and their communities, they will also think twice about service innovations and new deployments and upgrades out of fear that regulators will second-guess their legitimate business decisions, exposing them to liability under the rules.
The FCC could have adopted balanced rules that united all stakeholders in a concerted effort to advance equal access to broadband service. However, it decided, rather than pursue solutions, to pursue confrontation and litigation. The goals of the Infrastructure Act are to increase broadband deployment and adoption. The Commission’s misguided approach will do just the opposite.”
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 23 million customers, 6 million of which are 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 businesses.