Telecom and Cable Companies Oppose Reclassifying Internet Access As Title II Telecommunications

February 22, 2010. A collection of telecom and cable companies and groups submitted a letter [14 pages in PDF] to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing proposals to regulate broadband internet access services as Title II telecommunications services.

The Public Knowledge (PK) argued in a January 26, 2010, filing [17 pages in PDF] that the FCC should "reclassify broadband access as a Title II service".

In response, companies and groups involved in providing broadband internet access wrote that "certain groups advocating an extremist form of ``net neutrality´´ regulation have now asked the Commission to steer the debate in a radical new direction. They want the Commission to reverse a long series of decisions dating all the way back to the Kennard Commission in 1998 and classify broadband Internet access service, for the first time, as a ``telecommunications service´´ subject to legacy common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act. Regulating the Internet as these parties propose would be a profound mistake with harmful and lasting consequences for consumers and our economy." (Footnote omitted.)

"Broadband providers have already invested hundreds of billions of dollars in private risk capital to deploy next-generation networks ... in reliance on the Commission's Title I classification decisions". Moreover, they argue that reclassification would threaten continued investment.

These companies and groups also argue, given the Communications Act's definitions, and the FCC's decisions, the courts would not uphold such a reclassification.

The entities that signed the letter are AT&T, CTIA, Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), Qwest, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Time Warner Cable, U.S. Telecom Association, and Verizon.

The letter references three FCC proceedings: Preserving the Open Internet, GN Docket No. 09-191, Broadband Industry Practices, WC Docket No. 07-52, and A National Broadband Plan for Our Future, GN Docket No. 09-51.

Gigi Sohn, head of the PK, stated in a release that "This is a transparent attempt to bully the FCC", and that "The telecommunications industry has now shown that it cares nothing for consumers."