Net Neutrality Vote: Reactions From The Industry And Interest Groups

Seems like everybody has something to say about the FCC’s net neutrality vote today. Here’s an edited sampling, which we’ll update throughout the day.

Comcast EVP David Cohen: 

“Comcast alone has invested tens of billions of dollars in our network, increased broadband speeds 13 times in 13 years, and now offers speeds up to 505 Mbps down. We know that our business has grown and thrived because consumers want access to everything that the Internet makes possible, and we want to meet that demand. This is why we have no issue with the principles of transparency and the no blocking, no throttling, and no fast lanes rules incorporated in today’s FCC Order. But we remain deeply concerned that implementing those principles through Title II will do more harm to the vibrant Internet ecosystem than good.

“…[A]fter seeing the Order, we’ll have to engage in additional internal scrutiny on what our investment plans with respect to broadband will be going forward. After today, the only ‘certainty’ in the Open Internet space is that we all face inevitable litigation and years of regulatory uncertainty challenging an Order that puts in place rules that most of us agree with. We believe that the best way to avoid this would be for Congress to act. We are confident this can be done in a bi-partisan manner with a consensus approach that accomplishes the common goals of stakeholders on all sides of the open Internet debate without the unnecessary focus on legal jurisdiction and the unnecessary regulatory overhang from 80 year-old language and provisions that were never intended to be applied to the Internet.”

Free Press CEO Craig Aaron:

“Today’s vote is the biggest win for the public interest in the FCC’s history. It’s the culmination of a decade of dedicated grassroots organizing and advocacy….There’s no doubt that the cable and telecom monopolies and their hired guns will ramp up their lies and lobbying in an attempt to take this victory away from Internet users. But we’re ready to fight back to defend this historic win.”

National Cable & Telecommunications CEO Michael Powell (former FCC Chairman):

“Today, the FCC took one of the most regulatory steps in its history. … The FCC has taken the overwhelming support for an open Internet and pried open the door to heavy-handed government regulation in a space celebrated for its free enterprise. The Commission has breathed new life into the decayed telephone regulatory model and applied it to the most dynamic, free-wheeling and innovative platform in history. …[I]t falls to Congress to step in. Working together, our legislative leaders can protect an open Internet, while ensuring that it remains free for innovation without government permission and that it continues to create strong incentives to deploying ever-faster broadband to every American. The FCC has taken us in a distressing direction. We must now look to other branches of government for a more balanced resolution.”

Verizon SVP Michael Glover:

“Today’s decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors. Over the past two decades a bipartisan, light-touch policy approach unleashed unprecedented investment and enabled the broadband Internet age consumers now enjoy.”

Writers Guild of America, West President Chris Keyser:

“Today’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify the Internet as a Title II telecommunications service and institute the strongest open Internet rules to date is an historic moment for this country. Despite the vast amount of money poured into lobbying efforts by the telecoms to kill net neutrality, the public interest has won out….Reclassifying the Internet ensures that the progress towards more independent and diverse content already enabled by the open Internet will continue unabated, and that a free market that rewards creators and consumers will flourish.”

Producer Guild of America Co-Presidents Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary:

“The Producers Guild of America applauds the FCC’s recently announced regulations supporting net neutrality. We believe that the FCC’s approach is realistic and provides producers of creative content with a powerful affirmation that internet distribution channels will remain equally and fairly accessible to all services, voices, and perspectives.”

Consumers Union Senior Director Ellen Bloom:

“It would be hard to overstate how big of a deal this is for consumers and the future of the Internet. It’s a huge win after years of fierce debates and massive opposition from the biggest providers of Internet service. We’re not out of the woods yet. We’re into the woods, really. We expect opponents to look for every angle they can to stop these rules, whether in court or in Congress. It should be obvious, with the millions of people who spoke out in favor of these rules, that the battle should end now. We’re going to keep the pressure on to preserve these consumer protections.”

Free State Foundation President Randolph May:

“Despite any protestations to the contrary uttered today by the Commission’s three Democrats, today’s FCC’s action will lead to government regulation of the Internet in a way that is simply not warranted. There is no evidence of present market failure or consumer harm justifying this government intervention in the marketplace for Internet services….There will be rate regulation of Internet services, albeit the FCC will speak instead of regulating ‘practices.’…[T]he forthcoming flood of pleas for exemptions from the new regulations will smack of a resurrection of the discredited ‘dispensing power’ exercised by the Kings of England through the royal prerogative.”

Broadband for America Honorary Co-Chairs John Sununu and Harold Ford Jr.:  

“These ‘Title II’ rules go far beyond protecting the Open Internet, launching a costly and destructive era of government micromanagement that will discourage private investment in new networks and slow down the breakneck innovation that is the soul of the Internet today…. The result? Years of legal uncertainty that will chill investment and innovation in the most successful sector of our economy while likely raising new taxes and fees on middle class families.

There is only one solution: now is the time for Congress to act, to enshrine the Open Internet into law, end the gamesmanship, and secure America’s continued leadership in the global Internet economy.”

Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro:

“Today’s vote by the FCC reclassifying broadband as a Title II public utility service takes us in the wrong direction on the information superhighway….Rushing to regulate the Internet threatens to slow down broadband investment, and reduces competition among providers, which helps keep broadband costs low. Recent legislative proposals from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) would protect the free and open Internet, while also encouraging the investment and competition necessary to keep the Internet growing and thriving. We hope the FCC and Congress will now work together to take a U-turn and reach a balanced and bipartisan compromise that includes deploying additional spectrum and ensuring Americans have open and robust Internet access.”

Stanford Law Professor Barbara van Schewick:

“Today’s vote is among the greatest public interest victories in U.S. history….These bright-line rules will provide certainty to the market, keep the costs of regulation low, and limit regulatory overreach. Most importantly, they ensure that every American — no matter the size of their wallets or the color of their skin — has an equal chance to innovate and reach people online. By keeping the costs of innovation low, the FCC protects the Internet version of the American dream.

“…The good news is that the FCC’s rules will likely be upheld in court. The agency’s decision to reclassify Internet service as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act puts the rules on a solid legal foundation. By coupling reclassification with forbearance, the FCC has adopted a light regulatory touch that preserves Internet service providers’ incentives to invest.”

American Cable Association CEO Matthew Polka:  

“Compliance with these new rules will be costly, and these increased costs will affect the subscriber revenues essential to support the provision and improvement of broadband services and continued network investments, despite FCC assurances to the contrary… Small and medium-sized ISPs are not the root of any open Internet problem, and they should have been held harmless from the collateral damage of unnecessary Title II regulation. Accordingly, ACA intends to pursue every avenue available to protect its members and their subscribers, including by potentially filing a Petition for Review in the courts.”

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO:

“We joined millions of Americans who took action to protect an open Internet. What has been accomplished today will prevent powerful media and technology giants from treating the Internet like a private toll road, with the speediest lanes reserved for those with the deepest pockets.”

Future of Music Coalition CEO Casey Rae:

“This is an incredible moment for so many artists and independent labels who fought to preserve an open and accessible Internet for almost a decade. Creators of all political persuasions and backgrounds embody the very spirit of what net neutrality supporters have sought to achieve in this fight: the ability to compete on a level playing field without discrimination from just a few powerful ISPs.”

CTIA-The Wireless Association CEO Meredith Attwell (former FCC Commissioner):

“The agency’s action runs counter to an express Congressional directive prohibiting the agency from treating mobile broadband like a utility service, making today’s decision not only unwise, but unlawful. The economic and legal uncertainty that will inevitably follow from the FCC’s unilateral action underscores the importance of, and urgent need for, bipartisan Congressional action that can end the net neutrality debate and allow our country’s mobile ecosystem to focus on what it does best – innovating, investing and empowering Americans’ mobile connected lives.”

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