AARP: ISP Dereg Fails COVID-19 Stress Test

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) said the FCC should restore net neutrality rules and that ISPs are glossing over the issues the deregulatory ruling raises. 

It was filing reply comments in the FCC's court-ordered review of how reclassifying internet access as a Title I information service not subject to Title II common carrier mandatory access rules and eliminating the rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization affected public safety, pole attachments or the FCC's low income broadband subsidies. 

AARP signaled it was not surprised the ISPs were "glossing over" specific issues in their comments, though it was surprised Comcast suggested that there had not been any problems with the FCC's Title I classification in the past, saying that was unsupported by the evidentiary record, a nice way of saying that was not true.  

"[T]hese parties do not offer the Commission a plausible path forward, and instead rehash the alleged benefits of Title I classification on broadband investment, all the while ignoring the patent failure of current universal service and competition policies to survive the stress test imposed by the COVID-19 crisis," AARP said. 

Its members are in the categories of highest morbidity with the novel coronavirus.  

AARP also told the FCC that if it makes any changes to the rules, it should put them out in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking so the public can respond to them before the FCC adopts them.  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.