Avoid “Unnecessary Distraction” of Net Neutrality Battles
WASHINGTON—(BUSINESS WIRE)—The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a broad-based coalition supporting broadband availability and access for all Americans, today released the following statement on its comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) issued on October 22, 2009:
“We stand at a critical juncture with the fate of a landmark national broadband plan aimed at achieving universal access at stake. The IIA fears that the so-called ‘net neutrality NPRM’ issued by the FCC is an unnecessary distraction from the more critical policy initiatives needed to develop an effective National Broadband Plan, due from the FCC to Congress in just two months. Indeed, the Commission’s recent request for an extension of time to deliver a final Plan only underscores the need for the agency to devote more – not less – attention and resources to this task. The IIA commends the FCC for its leadership in the creation of a strategy that complements and accelerates efforts in the marketplace, and strongly encourages the Commission to keep its focus on this important responsibility.
“The FCC has put forward more than 25 public notices seeking comments on various ideas for new broadband policies. The Commission has also estimated that up to an additional $350 billion in infrastructure investment – the majority of which must come from private sources – will be needed to achieve ubiquitous, high-speed Internet throughout our country. With unemployment hovering at 10 percent and our economic recovery unclear, now is not the time to experiment with significant and divisive new regulations, which could have unintended consequences that hinder further investment and innovation.
“Instead, the IIA suggests that the FCC refocus on key initiatives more directly responsive to the challenges of expanding broadband access to, and adoption by, all Americans, including:
Finalizing and implementing the National Broadband Plan;
Undertaking reform of the Universal Service Fund to reflect and be tailored to the needs of the broadband era instead of yesterday’s telephony regime; and
Reducing tax and regulatory barriers to deployment of broadband over power lines and higher-speed wireless networks.
“The policy questions posed by this NPRM should be revisited if and when market conditions mandate, and only after sufficient analysis of their impact on infrastructure investment, consumer adoption and critical network management requirements. The lack of net neutrality regulations does not appear to have slowed dynamic innovation at the edge of the network so far, but hastily adopted regulations could have a lasting and significantly harmful effect on broadband development.”
The IIA’s full comments to the FCC in response to this NPRM can be found at https://internetinnovation.org/library/special-reports/response-to-notice-of-proposed-rule-making/