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Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers Opposed Title II Reclassification

Groups representing broadband business and tech interests have one piece of advice for the FCC: Don't rush to reclassify broadband under Title II.

That was the word from The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Tech America. The First two are opposed to Title II reclassification, period, but Tech America says it is not ready to take that step.

But what they all agree on is that the FCC should not be in a hurry to justify regulation of network management in the wake of the BitTorrent/Comcast decision, in which a court held that the FCC had not sufficiently justified its finding that Comcast had violated its network openness principles.

They outlined their views on a conference call with reporters about filings they are making in the FCC's network neutrality docket--there is a comment deadline this week that is drawing a lot of input, particularly in the wake of the court decision.

The groups did not say they were against providing justification for regulation of network management, but said Congress, not the commission, needed to weigh in.

Marc-Anthony Signorini from NAM said on a conference call with reporters, said his group would prefer some government action to none on the issue, citing the regulatory uncertainty , but said it should come from Congress. He also suggested that might be a swifter resolution than a several-years-long process of an FCC inquiry, followed by comments, followed by a rulemaking proposal, then more comments, then a rulemaking, and the challenge to that rulemaking.

Businesses like regulatory certainty, he said, and one of the things about Congress is that "they are pretty explicit."

Why is the National Association of Manufacturers weighing in? He said it is aw "huge issue" for a number of his members, including companies that manage networks, that make fiber, that dig the trenches, and that make the tools that dig the trenches that hold the fiber.

He also said the businesses are consumers of broadband and want the fast speeds and access that could be discouraged by too heavy a regulatory hand. Essentially, the groups argue the deployment is better driven by the marketplace of investment and innovation, with the regulatory rules of the road explicitly laid out by Congress.

The groups also argue that in the interim, the Federal Trade Commission, the Courts and the Justice Department can take care of network management issues, with help from the squeaky wheel of consumer outcry.