As the FCC prepares to vote on new Open Internet rules that will open the door for increased investment and digital innovation, there is a lot of misinformation that this is the “end of the world as we know it” for the Internet. It’s important to take a moment, step back, and make clear what is happening here – and what is not happening – and to alleviate any concerns and address how consumers and the Internet will remain fully protected.
This is not the end of net neutrality. Despite repeated distortions and biased information, as well as misguided, inaccurate attacks from detractors, our Internet service is not going to change. Comcast customers will continue to enjoy all of the benefits of an open Internet today, tomorrow, and in the future. Period.
Consumers will remain fully protected. We have repeatedly stated, and reiterate today, that we do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content. These fundamental tenets of net neutrality are also key components of our core network and business practices – they govern how we run our Internet business.
Light touch regulation allows for more competition in the marketplace and increased investment and innovation. There’s no question that an open Internet is important. There is also no doubt that investment is essential to fostering technological growth. Since its creation, the Internet has opened the door for tremendous digital advances and innovations. It has changed how we communicate and how we interact on a day to day basis. The politically guided and motivated decision by the Wheeler FCC in 2015 to revert to Title II regulation slowed the pace of advancement and limited choices in the marketplace. For example, it was that misguided thinking that stunted the rollout of Comcast’s Stream TV, an in-home, IP-based cable service, which was stalled from a broad consumer rollout because of an unnecessary protracted FCC investigation.
The FCC’s order means what its title promises: restoring Internet freedom. Consumers deserve choice and a thriving, innovative competitive marketplace under light touch regulation. The contemplated rulingremoves the overhang created by Title II and rightfully reclassifies broadband Internet access as an interstate information service. Additionally, the order returns authority to the FTC to regulate data privacy and security for the entire Internet ecosystem under a uniform federal technology-neutral framework. It also requires all Internet providers to disclose their net neutrality practices, and will hold ISPs accountable to these practices. The inter-agency agreement announced yesterday between the FCC and the FTC should put to rest the fear that there is any confusion about the relative enforcement jurisdictions of the two agencies in the net neutrality context.
Protecting the Internet is critical for the future. We should all agree that the Internet deserves a bright future, regardless of the political party in power. This is not a time for political grandstanding or heated, false rhetoric. Inaccurate cries of Armageddon have done nothing but stoke a partisan political fire that distracts from actually allowing policymakers to come together to develop sensible, transparent, and durable Open Internet regulations that protect the consumer, encourage investment, and strengthen the American economy. With the expected FCC action tomorrow, it’s time to set aside partisan threats of litigation or legislation. The best interests of consumers, Internet companies, and ISPs are now best served by bipartisan discussions and problem solving. You’ll hear more from me on this subject tomorrow.