National Cable & Telecommunications Association
President Kyle McSlarrow said in a letter to the Hill Monday that the
association supports the FCC's new network neutrality rules--ones he helped
negotiate--but primarily because they "largely" codify what cable
operators already do, provide at least some measure of regulatory certainty,
and beats the alternative of Title II classification.
"I believe the Order, reached after months of
negotiation and compromise, represented a good faith effort on the part of
Chairman Genachowski and his staff to accomplish those goals and avoid
those risks," McSlarrow wrote.
McSlarrow's letter was in response to one from House
Energy & Commerce Committee Republican leaders on whether the rules were
necessary, equitable and did anything to promote the economy or job creation.
McSlarrow said NCTA supported the rules,
which McSlarrow helped negotiate as a compromise from an original Title II
classification proposal, for four reasons: "1) it largely codifies the
status quo practices to which the industry has voluntarily committed; 2) it
contains helpful clarifying language around such issues as what constitutes
'reasonable network management;' 3) it provides greater certainty about our
ability to manage and invest in our broadband services today and those we may
deploy in the future ; and 4) the alternative of Title II regulation (which had
three likely FCC votes in support and was the only likely alternative), with
the attendant risks of unbundling and rate regulation, presented a stark and much
worse risk to continued investment and job creation."
McSlarrow suggested the regs would not boost the
economy or jobs, but would allow for continued investment, return on
investment, and job creation. At best, if administered "modestly,"
and with "regulatory humility," he suggested, the regs would
"promote continued investment and job creation."
But he also had a warning for the legislators. "if
implemented and enforced in ways that are more expansive than the plain
language of the Order supports, there could certainly be an adverse
economic impact by chilling the willingness to deploy new services," he
"Continued" was the operative word in
all McSlarrow's responses about what the regs would do, making the
point that the industry would be doing these things without the regulations as
well. He reiterated that he thought the rules were "a solution in search
of a problem."
Asked whether it as fair that the regs apply to ISP's
but not Web companies cable competes with, McSlarrow said it was better to have
"a light regulatory touch for everyone in the Internet ecosystem,
than a heavy and counterproductive regulatory regime on part or all of the
House Republicans led by House Energy & Commerce
Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications Subcommittee
Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) have been unequivocal in their opposition to
the regs as unnecessary, an end-run around congressional authority and a
threat to jobs and investment. This week they plan to vote in the subcommittee
on a resolution to invalidate the rules.
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