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NCTA: FCC Rules Appear To Be Consensus Compromise

Comcast said the FCC's new network
neutrality regulations appear to strike a "workable balance,"
while Verizon said they were likely to be harmful to "consumers and the

The National Cable &
Telecommunications Association and Comcast, its largest member, were generally
on the same page.

NCTA President
Kyle McSlarrow said that he agreed with the Republican commissioners--who
voted against the rules--that they were unnecessary, but said since it had been
clear there were three votes for rules that would have gone much farther,
the association's goal had been rules that would avoid unintended consequences
and that preserved investment and innovation.

"As I have stated previously,
months of negotiations and discussions have led to a rough consensus of rules
that we believe can accomplish those goals and avoid the extreme and
counterproductive demands for rate regulation, unbundling of networks, and
reclassification under Title II," McSlarrow said. "While we will
reserve final judgment until after we have an opportunity to closely review the
text of the Order once it is released, it appears that the rules themselves
contain that compromise consensus," he said.

"While we look forward to
reviewing the final order, the rules as described generally appear intended to
strike a workable balance between the needs of the marketplace for certainty
and everyone's desire that Internet openness be preserved," said
Comcast EVP David Cohen. "Most importantly, this approach removes the
cloud of Title II regulation that would unquestionably have harmed innovation
and investment in the Internet and broadband infrastructure."

Verizon and telecom
lobby USTelecom were in general agreement as well. "While we appreciate
the hard work and good faith that the Chairman put into this matter, and his
proceeding under Title I rather than Title II," said USTelecom
President Walter McCormick, "we do not support the final rule, and we
believe that the Commission will come to regret the action it has taken today
as one that is fundamentally inconsistent with the National Broadband Plan's
goals of increased broadband investment, innovation, deployment, and

"While it will take some time for
us to analyze the FCC's rules and the order once they are released, the FCC's
decision apparently reaches far beyond the net neutrality rules it announced
today," said Verizon in a statement.

"Based on today's
announcement, the FCC appears to assert broad authority for sweeping new
regulation of broadband wireline and wireless networks and the Internet
itself. This assertion of authority without solid statutory underpinnings will
yield continued uncertainty for industry, innovators, and investors. In the
long run, that is harmful to consumers and the nation."

All the comments came
with the caveat that they had not seen the final order, which won't be
released for a couple of days.