ACA Praises Passage of FCC Rate Reg-Blocking Bill

WASHINGTON — The American Cable Association is praising passage of the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, which Republicans say is just a way to ensure the Federal Communications Commission does not use its Title II authority over Internet-service providers — if the court finds they have it — to regulate broadband rates.

In a statement following the bill's passage in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, ACA President Matt Polka suggested the bill simply dovetails with assurances the trade group representing small, independent cable operators has gotten from the Obama administration and the FCC.

"Not only have subscription fees been reasonable, but senior White House and FCC officials have assured us that reclassification of broadband Internet access under Title II would not result in retail rate regulation by the FCC," Polka said.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler also made that point in a House Appropriations Committee hearing this week, but said the bill went farther and could eviscerate the agency's bright-line network neutrality rules.

The ACA does not see it that way, but has its own concerns about the rules.

"ACA remains concerned about the ongoing regulatory costs of Title II on smaller broadband providers," Polka said. "A law banning government interference with retail broadband access rates would give smaller broadband providers greater confidence when deciding on making investments or seeking financing on reasonable terms and conditions."

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.