Folks who have a stake in FCC activities are beginning to respond to Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to revive the agency’s net neutrality rules. Consumer groups for the most part applaud his ambition, but fear that his effort will fall short unless the FCC reclassifies broadband as a regulated common carrier service — it’s now deemed a largely unregulated information service. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, one of the agency’s two Republican members, says there’s no need for regulation calling net neutrality “a solution in search of a problem.” And industry groups are supportive, but non-committal. Here’s where they stand. We’ve highlighted the key lines, and will add to the collection as more come in.
Verizon Executive Director Ed McFadden: “Verizon remains committed to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. We have always focused on providing our customers with the services and experience they want, and this focus has not changed.”
Writers Guild of America, West: “Having faced the detrimental effects of years of media consolidation, film, television, and new media writers fully understand the importance of allowing the public to easily view their works through an open Internet. The recent move by Comcast to acquire Time Warner Cable makes it vital the FCC acts quickly to assert its authority to protect an open Internet. While we hope the Chairman will decide in the future to reclassify broadband under the authority clearly given him under Title II, we are gratified to see him take these initial actions.”
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Today’s announcement reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day. In the wake of a court defeat, an FCC Chairman floats a plan for rules regulating Internet service providers’ network management practices instead of seeking guidance from Congress, all while the specter of Title II reclassification hovers ominously in the background. I am skeptical that this effort will end any differently from the last….The Internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif., Ranking Member Committee on Energy And Commerce): “Chairman Wheeler is committed to achieving the same goal administratively that the bill I introduced earlier this month with Rep. Eshoo and Sen. Markey would achieve legislatively: stopping broadband providers from using their market power to block or interfere with the content consumers want to access. I expect the FCC to move expeditiously in readopting the rules and grounding them on a strong legal footing. I look forward to working with the FCC to ensure that consumers, innovators, and network operators benefit from the certainty of enforceable net neutrality rules of the road.”
Comcast EVP David Cohen: “… FCC Chairman Wheeler has taken a thoughtful approach which creates a path for enforceable rules based on the appropriate authority outlined by the Court’s findings. We continue to be committed to work with Chairman Wheeler and the Commission to play a constructive role going forward that will continue to allow the Internet to flourish.”
Public Knowledge CEO Gene Kimmelman: “…The recently proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast makes it even more important for the Commission to move expeditiously to reinstate nondiscrimination rules by using all regulatory tools available. While skeptical that the FCC’s initial focus on section 706 will yield meaningful results, we are encouraged to see that the FCC plans to keep its ‘reclassification’ proceeding open. We commend the FCC for launching an effort to promote municipal broadband and other forms of broadband competition. Laws passed at the urging of industry lobbyists limit vital broadband services and competitive entry in 20 states. Cities and towns should be free to build systems, and offer citizens more choices and lower prices.“
National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell: “The cable industry has always embraced the principles of an open Internet and remain committed to them. …We continue to believe that the values of an open Internet can be preserved, while avoiding a damaging move to heavier regulation.”
Consumers Union Policy Counsel Delara Derakhshani: “We’re pleased that Chairman Wheeler at the FCC has made a free and open Internet a top priority. …It’s a good thing that they haven’t shut the door on Title II reclassification, because that’s the best way to hold Internet service providers accountable. The stakes are high, for your wallet and your free speech. The Commission wants to hear from the public, and we’re urging consumers to join us in speaking out on why net neutrality is so important.”
American Cable Association CEO Matthew Polka: “ACA strongly agrees with Chairman Wheeler that the entire Internet ecosystem requires certainty and predictability to promote investment, and looks forward to working with the FCC with regard to the Open Internet proceeding.”
Michael Copps, former FCC Commissioner now a special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative: ”I am pleased at the opening of a docket to encourage wide public input into this critically-important issue. I continue to believe that Title II reclassification is, by far, the surest and best way to guarantee consumer protections and free speech online. I hope the Commission will get there soon.”