April 3, 2024

ACA Connects Statement on FCC’s Plans to Reimpose Title II 

April 3, 2024—ACA Connects, America’s Communications Association, released the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announcement it will vote to classify broadband internet service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. 

“The FCC should be celebrating and empowering smaller and independent broadband providers, not seeking to tie their hands with century-old common carrier regulations,” said ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer. “Today, these providers ARE upholding the principles of an open internet and delivering unfettered, affordable, and faster services to their customers. This is in large part thanks to America’s competitive marketplace and its time-tested, balanced regulatory approach. ACA Connects will continue to advocate on behalf of these smaller providers for the FCC to abandon this unwarranted proposal. The FCC should not deter our Members from their work of investing billions to increase broadband access and adoption for all Americans.” 

In previous filings, ACA Connects urged the Commission to not impose these unnecessary and burdensome new rules that will hamper broadband investment and innovation by its Members – smaller providers. 

FCC Reply Comments re Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet 
Published January 17, 2024 

Key Excerpt: “The fixed broadband ecosystem has flourished – and continues to flourish – under the Title I regulatory framework that has prevailed for virtually all of the previous three decades. This framework has fostered entry, infrastructure investment, subscriber responsiveness, and service innovation.10 Preserving Title I – and avoiding the regulatory friction induced by Title II – is especially urgent for the small and mid-sized providers ACA Connects represents. Because they lack the same resources as the Fortune 100 companies that dominate the broadband landscape, they are less able to absorb the costs of compliance with additional and possibly novel regulatory mandates.”

FCC Comments re Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet 
Published December 14, 2023 

Key Excerpt: “With the exception of a two-year hiatus from 2015 to 2017, balanced Federal regulation of broadband has prevailed. Under this approach, there have been trillions of dollars of investment from BSPs to upgrade and expand coverage of their broadband networks. From 2016 to 2021, our Members increased the reach of their reliable, high performance broadband networks from 16.7 million to 22.7 million households, and they have continued to expand since then. The end result of our Members’ and other [broadband service provider’s] investments is a network of networks that was able to keep residents, businesses, and institutions online and productive during a global pandemic and that Americans know they can rely on today.” 

During the ACA Connects Summit on March 6, 2024, Spellmeyer also asked FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr about his concerns with the application of Title II regulations on broadband providers.  

Commissioner Carr said, “It’s a reaction to a market power dynamic that hasn’t existed in decades. It doesn’t make sense that the debate has crystalized to protect edge providers like Apple, Amazon and Meta from small broadband providers…Relitigating Title II is looking at a rearview mirror, while ignoring real other threats.” 

About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association –America’s Communications Association – ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 31.9 million households, 7.3 million of which are located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. ACA Connects Members operate in every state, providing advanced communications to connect homes, companies, main street, schools, hospitals and more. America’s economic prosperity in smaller communities and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a prosperous nation.