WASHINGTON, September 18, 2014 – The pro-business advocacy group Broadband for America reinforced its opposition to public utility regulation of broadband providers during a Monday teleconference on net neutrality.
Instead, the group said that they support efforts to use Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as a separate way to enforce open internet standards. Honorary co-chair and former Rep. Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., said that the success of the broadband industry over the last 20 years was due a light touch regulatory approach, and that the Section 706 approach would continue this trend.
Sununu said that fewer regulations on the broadband industry have helped the U.S. develop next generation broadband faster than the nations of Europe. Sununu said that the FCC protections will be allowed under section 706, and with this continued approach, the senator argued that our speeds will continue to increase over the next few years.
Broadband for America’s other honorary co-chair, former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., D-Tenn., called “laughable” the notion that Title II public utility reclassification under the Communications Act would make it easier for new technologies to emerge. “The amazing innovation is the tech space” would be hurt by Title II reclassification, he said.
Joining in the conversation was Telecommunications Industry Association President Grant Seiffert, who represents close to 500 telecommunications equipment manufacturers and suppliers, who reiterated his group’s opposition to Title II reclassification.
“Paid peering agreements need to exist so that companies can bring to their traffic to the internet backbone in a way that is organized, disciplined and efficient,” said Seiffert.
A topic of importance to consumers and companies that has been in the media is “paid prioritization.” Sununu said that paid peering, when a company like Netflix pays to have direct connection to an ISP like Comcast, is not a net neutrality issue. Net neutrality “is about the last mile. It’s about protecting consumers from blocking access to lawful websites. It’s about making sure providers disclose how they manage traffic on their network. It’s about dealing with discrimination as well.”