DC Reacts to FCC Chairman Open Internet Rules

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DC reacted to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's framework for network neutrality:

Responses from Members of Congress
House Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA): the rules are a "triumph for the American consumer. The American people asked for the strongest possible rules to ensure a free and open Internet, and Chairman Wheeler has heard their voices by proposing to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act."

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD): "Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to regulate the Internet as a public utility is not about net neutrality -- it is a power grab for the federal government by the chairman of a supposedly independent agency who finally succumbed to the bully tactics of political activists and the president himself...This is not good for consumers and is not the vision of an open Internet that Americans want. As the public learns more details about the FCC’s overreaching proposal in the coming days and weeks, I believe that the merits of a legislative solution will become undeniable. I am determined to work with my colleagues to find a better path forward regardless of what the FCC decides."

Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL): “The FCC is just doing its job. And I support Chairman Wheeler in his attempt to move ahead with rules to protect consumers and the openness of the Internet. I also look forward to working with Sen. Thune, hopefully in a bipartisan way, as we consider any legislation in the future.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT): the rules are a "victory for the Internet".

Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR): pushed the entire FCC to "adopt this proposal and ensure that monopolies are never allowed to slam the door on American innovation."

Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT): tweeted, "[FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's] decision to extend protections to broadband customers is a huge victory for consumers. Millions spoke & the FCC listened."

Senate Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Sen Brian Schatz (D-HI): "I congratulate Chairman Wheeler for his leadership in putting forth a proposal to establish net neutrality rules tailored for the 21st century...A free and open Internet is critical to fostering innovation and enabling continued investment in our nation’s broadband network. It must continue to be a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to compete. I am pleased that the Chairman’s proposal bans blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization for both mobile and fixed broadband providers. I believe that these new proposed rules provide clear regulatory guidance for industry while at the same time, preserving the FCC’s authority to prevent other forms of discrimination that threaten Internet openness in the future.”

Rep Zoe Lofgren (D-CA): "The record-breaking number of comments received by the FCC left no doubt that the public supports strong net neutrality rules. I’m pleased Commissioner Wheeler has recognized that public sentiment today and put forward a good plan to use Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections. These protections, including bans on blocking, throttling or prioritizing Internet traffic based on source, application, or content, will bolster innovation and self-expression across the nation and around the world. Large technology companies, small app developers, movie and television writers, public advocacy organizations, and the public at large all stand to benefit from a free and open internet."

Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “This is a victory for consumers and entrepreneurs...The proposal would ensure that the Internet remains a space for the open exchange of ideas and information, free of discrimination and corporate control.”

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA): "[FCC Chairman] Wheeler's approach would squelch investment in one of the most dynamic and competitive marketplaces in history and lock net neutrality protection in the courts without reacting Americans now or anytime in the near future."

Former FCC Commissioners
Former FCC Chairman Michael Copps: "This is a banner day as years of grassroots organizing is paying historic public interest dividends, Congratulations to Chairman Wheeler and his supportive colleagues for hearing what millions have said: only the strongest Open Internet rules will protect competition and free expression online.”

Former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth: "Regulating the Internet will not help America. It will hurt [it]....It will discourage investment in networks. It will discourage the development of a faster, more consumer-friendly Internet. It will lead to at least two years of intense litigation during which a great deal of uncertainty will cover the Internet."

DC Advocacy Groups
Public Knowledge Vice President of Government Affairs Chris Lewis: "“Public Knowledge commends Chairman Wheeler for siding with network users by announcing his support for strong Open Internet rules grounded in Title II authority" "This is a historic announcement by Chairman Wheeler, and a decision that consumers have been demanding for some time. Americans have waited over a year for the FCC to restore the Open Internet protections that were vacated by the DC Circuit Court."

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood: "Chairman Wheeler’s announcement today is the culmination of a decade of dedicated grassroots organizing and advocacy. We’re now one step closer to restoring real public interest protections to our nation’s communications policies. If the full FCC adopts the chairman’s proposal, and it’s free of any last-minute surprises, then everyone’s right to communicate freely online will be secured. We commend Chairman Wheeler’s actions and his willingness to listen to the facts in the face of a fiercely dishonest industry lobbying effort...There’s no doubt that the cable and telecom monopolies and their hired guns will ramp up their lies in an attempt to thwart the FCC’s common-sense action. The FCC should ignore industry’s cynical efforts. The agency is not only doing what the law requires, but what the people need. Restoration of Title II is the only way to preserve Net Neutrality and protect everyone’s rights to access affordable, competitive and secure communications networks."

Benton Foundation's Director of Policy, Amina Fazlullah: "After months of public debate, the Federal Communications Commission seems poised to adopt rules that will ensure that consumers retain their rights to utilize any legal applications, content, devices, and services of their choosing on the broadband networks they use. This will be a huge victory for Internet users for years to come. The Internet is one of the great engines of democratic and economic activity in human history -- and the FCC’s proposed openness rules will help ensure that it remains a platform for all users, content creators, and innovators, regardless of their ability to pay infrastructure owners for access. The Benton Foundation salutes the leadership of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The process to adopt what promises to be the strongest network neutrality ever has been transparent and welcomed the voices of the American public in record numbers. Chairman Wheeler's actions reflect his commitment to an Internet that is fast, fair and open. Benton looks forward to reviewing the actual language of the new rules, but today’s announcement makes us hopeful that the Internet will remain the greatest platform ever for expression and innovation."

Open Technology Institute Director Alan Davidson: "The Internet has flourished because people have the power to choose for themselves what they see and do online...The approach proposed by the FCC Chairman today would protect the free and open Internet for a next generation of broadband Internet users. It appears to offer strong protections for both wired and wireless Internet access, grounded in a measured way with the legal authority needed to enforce those rules."

Open Technology Institute's Senior Policy Counsel Sarah Morris: "The Chairman’s plan to reclassify broadband as a Title II service is a tremendous win for consumers. Title II gives the FCC clear, bounded legal authority to implement strong network neutrality rules and the ability to continue to assess and address harms as they arise. We applaud Chairman Wheeler for taking this important, long-awaited step to protect consumers and innovators.“The proposed approach would include strong, bright-line protections against blocking, discrimination, and prioritization of content on both wired and wireless networks. These rules would cover important, identified consumer harms, particularly when combined with the rulemaking and interpretive authority that the FCC would have under Title II. While we will continue to assess the precise details of this plan, particularly the application of the rules to protect consumers directly affected by business disputes at the point of interconnection onto the last mile, the framework outlined in the Chairman’s blog post is a sound and deeply encouraging one.”

Center for Democracy and Technology: "The open Internet that has served as a true equalizer was strengthened today with the FCC’s proposed rules. By clearly banning discrimination, whether through paid prioritization, throttling, or blocking, the FCC has protected the foundation of the democratic Internet. This is an important day for everyone who enjoys the benefits of a fair and open Internet. The FCC’s Title II approach creates the stable and enforceable legal authority necessary to preserving an open Internet. Details on how the FCC will protect the interests of consumers, including privacy, are still necessary. However, the proposed rules show that the Commission clearly listened to the American people and delivered very strong open Internet rules."

Common Cause: "The Internet is the Town Hall of the 21st century; if we want our democracy to flourish, we must see that it remains open to everyone. That’s why today’s signal that the FCC will reclassify Internet service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is so important."

Demand Progress: "We applaud Chairmen Wheeler’s historic decision to protect an open Internet by reclassifying broadband as a Title II communications service. The FCC is closer than ever to instituting real net neutrality protections that will keep the Web open for generations to come. From the Internet Slowdown day of action last fall to everyday users exercising their right to freedom of expression, millions of people have called on the FCC and Congress to put the public need for an open Internet before the demands of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon. We look forward to seeing the exact details of the FCC’s rules. All indications point to this announcement as reassuring for the future of the Internet, free speech and American innovation, because Title II is the simplest, most legally sound way to preserve net neutrality.
We urge Congress not to interfere with the FCC’s authority to protect an open Internet and to heed the thousands of calls from their constituents demanding an end to any ploys to satisfy big cable monopolies."

National Hispanic Media Coalition, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jessica J. González: "NHMC congratulates Chairman Wheeler and the countless hardworking and discerning FCC officials and staff members that have filtered through ISP talking points to reach the truth: that strong open Internet protections under Title II are critical to protecting equality in the digital age. I am particularly pleased that the protections will apply to mobile broadband. Too many poor folks, Latinos and other people of color rely on mobile connections as their sole internet onramps. By extending protections to mobile connections, the FCC protects those folks as well as it can from becoming second-class digital citizens,”

Information Technology Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Telecommunications Policy Analyst Doug Brake: "Title II common carrier regulations represent a strong shift towards a European-style, precautionary regulation, over-regulating up-front without legitimate justification. This path will make it much harder to do pro-consumer network management, and is more likely to balkanize the Internet into distinct private networks and specialized services....As ITIF has repeatedly stated, the decision to classify broadband as a telecommunication service in order to apply common carrier regulations is an unjustified, overblown response to what has in actuality been a by-and-large hypothetical concern."

Trade Organizations and Industry Groups
Internet Association: "Internet companies are pleased to hear that Chairman Wheeler intends to enact strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable net neutrality rules that include bright-line rules that ban paid prioritization, blocking, and discrimination online. The details and implementation of the proposal matter, and we look forward to seeing the text of the order to ensure that a free and open Internet is fully protected. The Internet Association remains results oriented, and it is essential that the end result protect the user experience as a first priority. We thank Chairman Wheeler for including equal treatment of wireless and fixed broadband connections in his proposal. There is only one Internet, and users expect that they be able to access an uncensored Internet regardless of how they connect. It is also important that broadband gatekeepers not use interconnection as a chokepoint to thwart net neutrality protections by degrading consumer access and harming online services."

National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA): "Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to impose the heavy burden of Title II public utility regulation on the Internet goes far beyond the worthy goal of establishing important net neutrality protections. It will result in a backward-looking new regulatory regime, ill-suited for the dynamic Internet, with far reaching and troubling consequences. We believe that such a significant expansion of the FCC’s authority is unnecessary and will only deliver further uncertainty instead of legally enforceable rules that everyone supports. Despite the repeated assurances from the President and Chairman Wheeler, we remain concerned that this proposal will confer sweeping discretion to regulate rates and set the economic terms and conditions of business relationships. The cable industry has repeatedly voiced our support for sensible net neutrality rules which accomplish the important protections that President Obama and others have supported – no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization and transparency of business practices – and can be enacted without the significant regulatory baggage that comes with public utility regulation. We will need to look carefully at the final order to fully understand the impact on broadband networks and American consumers."

Broadband for America: "Chairman Wheeler's proposal to regulate the Internet as a Title II public utility is an unprecedented expansion of FCC power with heavy regulation of the Internet for the first time. This proposal would stifle investment, innovation and consumer choice. Worse, the Chairman's plan could have spillover effects into the broader Internet ecosystem and threaten Silicon Valley companies that rely heavily on the Internet. The Chairman's plan to widen the FCC's authority over interconnection contradicts previous assertions that this issue would be kept separate from net neutrality as well as the conclusions of prior FCC commissions, who have held interconnection issues as separate and distinct from net neutrality. There is no market failure to justify such an aggressive intervention – in fact, the market is highly competitive with a track record of working efficiently and benefitting consumers. In this current dynamic Internet environment, it is impossible to predict future usage patterns, content offerings and capacity needs. Therefore, regulation of these complex relationships would likely be costly and impede the Internet's ability to serve consumers' ever-changing needs. Rather than jeopardize innovation and create legal uncertainty with burdensome new regulations, we urge Congress to work together to establish bipartisan legislation that would codify net neutrality principles and maintain the openness of the Internet. It is critical that our leaders come together to protect the bipartisan-led framework that has advanced the extraordinary growth and deployment of high speed Internet for nearly two decades."

USTelecom: "We believe that Title II reclassification is unnecessary and unwise. It is unnecessary in that the industry is operating in complete conformance with the open Internet standards advanced by the President and the Chairman; we agree with the standards; we support their adoption in regulation by the FCC under Section 706; and we support their enactment into law by the Congress. It is unwise in that Title II is economic regulation for a bygone era. It was not meant for the information age, and it was not designed for the Internet. It will lead to increased costs on consumers, chill investment, slow innovation, and delay deployment. In the days ahead, we hope that the commission will consider the opportunity that remains present to forge a compromise on this issue, given the broad consensus on the objectives, and the advantages associated with adoption of a modified approach that could garner broad, bipartisan support.”

CTIA - The Wireless Association: "We are concerned that the FCC’s proposed approach could jeopardize our world leading mobile broadband market and result in significant uncertainty for years to come because the FCC lacks congressional authority to impose Title II public utility regulation on mobile broadband services. The mobile innovation and investment -- $120 billion since 2010 alone -- that American consumers rely on will be placed at risk by the FCC applying intrusive regulatory restrictions on mobile broadband for the first time. We continue to believe Congress’s bipartisan efforts to provide explicit authority to the FCC is the best path forward to preserve an open Internet and provide certainty for all stakeholders."

Mobile Future, Chair Jonathan Spalter: “The Chairman’s plan to impose overreaching, outdated regulations to the broadband arena will increase uncertainty in the U.S. communications sector and could have grave implications for mobile innovators, investors and consumers. While we strongly support an open Internet, it is deeply disappointing that the FCC is turning its back on decades of bipartisan, pro-consumer, pro-investment policies that have led to the dynamic mobile marketplace that hundreds of millions of Americans enjoy today.”

Responses from Private Sector
Netflix: "The FCC is poised to take decisive action that will ensure consumers get the Internet access they pay for without ISPs restricting, influencing or meddling with their choices. We support the commission asserting jurisdiction over interconnection and implementing a case-by-case process that prevents ISPs from charging unfair and unreasonable tolls. If such an oversight process had been in place last year, we certainly would've used it when a handful of ISPs opted to hold our members hostage until we paid up."

Verizon, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Public Policy and Government Affairs Michael Glover: "Heavily regulating the Internet for the first time is unnecessary and counterproductive. It is unnecessary because all participants in the Internet ecosystem support an open Internet, and the FCC can address any harmful behavior without taking this radical step. Moreover, Congress is working on legislation that would codify open Internet rules once and for all. It is counterproductive because heavy regulation of the Internet will create uncertainty and chill investment among the many players -- not just Internet service providers -- that now will need to consider FCC rules before launching new services.”

AT&T: "We continue to believe that a middle ground exists that will allow us to safeguard the open Internet without risk to needed investment and years of legal uncertainty. We were able to find such a path in 2010, and will do our very best to seek such a path today. We also hope that proponents of Title II will consider that any FCC action taken on a partisan vote can be undone by a future commission in similar fashion, or may be declared invalid by the courts. The best way to ensure that open Internet protections, investment and innovation endure is for people of good faith to come together on a bipartisan basis for that purpose. We believe such an opportunity exists today."

ISPs, wireless carriers, and Washington insiders react to FCC's net neutrality proposal (The Verge) Dems rush to applaud FCC Internet rules (The Hill) Republicans blast net neutrality 'power grab' (The Hill) Net Neutrality Lobbying Turns Frenetic as FCC Unveils Plan (The Wrap) Reaction to Net Neutrality Proposal Passionately Divided (Revere Digital) Top Republican blasts new FCC net neutrality proposal as a "power grab" (Vox) Thune Statement on FCC Chairman's Proposed Internet Power Grab (Senate Commerce Committee) DC Dives Into Title II (Multichannel News) Benton: Wheeler's Strong Net Neutrality Rules Will Protect Consumers (Benton Foundation) Public Knowledge Supports Chairman Wheeler's Strong Net Neutrality Proposal (Public Knowledge) FCC Chairman Proposes Real Net Neutrality Protections (Free Press) FCC Proposal Promises A Free and Open Internet for Consumers (Open Technology Institute) Title II Not Meant for Information Age (USTA) Title II: an Unwarranted Reversal in Policy (ITIF) NHMC Commends FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's Network Neutrality Proposal (National Hispanic Media Coalition) Statement of NCTA President * CEO Michael Powell Regarding FCC Chairman Wheeler's Title II Proposal (NCTA) AT&T Statement on FCC Chairman Wheeler's Net Neutrality Proposal (AT&T) Verizon is mad that its huge net neutrality gamble backfired (ars technica) Verizon Reacts to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's Comments on Open Internet Rules (Verizon) DC Take on Title II, Take III Nelson Statement on FCC Chairman's Net Neutrality Proposal