NCTA Says Record Supports FCC Net Neutrality Dereg

NCTA-the Internet & Television Association has signaled that nothing in the initial comments on the court remand of some FCC ISP deregulation has dissuaded it from its conclusion that the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order "protects public safety, does not impair access to poles, and does not prevent the Commission from subsidizing broadband service through the Lifeline program." 

Related: FCC Seeks Comment on Restoring Internet Freedom Remand 

On the contrary, it said, the FCC now has a "full and refreshed" record that the benefits of that deregulation continue to accrue. 

That assessment came in reply comments on the court remand of a handful of elements in the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) order. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the bulk of the agency's December 2017 decision to reclassify ISPs as Title I information service providers that aren’t subject to Title II common-carrier regulations and to eliminate the rules against blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and a general conduct rule. But the court said the FCC needed to better explain the impact of those decisions on public safety, the regulation of pole attachments, and its Lifeline broadband/phone subsidy program.   

NCTA said critics of the FCC decision failed to demonstrate a credible risk to public safety, while the "refreshed record" showed that the RIF order advanced public safety by spurring investment in robust broadband, including a "wide array" of public safety communications.  

Related: INCOMPAS Says Public Safety Is at Risk from Deregulated ISPs 

As to the other two issues: "The record shows that the Commission’s policies have led to ever-increasing broadband deployment, contradicting the speculative assertions by some commenters that the information service classification has harmed or will harm pole access. And that expanded deployment of competitive broadband services redounds to the benefit of all consumers, including low-income consumers who may be eligible for the Lifeline program," NCTA said. 

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.