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Wheeler to Hill: ISPs Have Certainty to Invest

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler plans to tell Congress that a court's denial of ISP efforts to stay part of the FCC's net neutrality order means those companies have "the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks."

ISPs have argued that new interconnection-targeted complaint processes and a general Internet conduct standard will work against such investment, but according to Wheeler's testimony for a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing, the chairman cites statements by the CEOs of T-Mobile, Sprint, Cablevision, Charter and Frontier that Title II reclassification "does not discourage their investment."

He also said that announcements by ISPs including Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and others that they were expanding broadband service suggested "healthy" network investment would continue.

Wheeler cited the court's denial of the stay as a recent FCC accomplishment, along with the rules themselves.

Wheeler says the broadcast incentive auction had more moving parts than a Swiss watch, but that it is still on track for a first-quarter 2016 launch.

The FCC plans to vote Aug. 6 on the incentive auction framework and bidding rules. Wheeler reiterates that the reserve would be 30 MHz, but only "provided that eligible bidders pay their fair share of auction costs."

The chairman said the FCC would issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in the fall on broadband privacy, or what he called the "non-monetary cost" of using broadband—broadband privacy oversight moved from the Federal Trade Commission to the FCC with the reclassification of ISPs under Title II common carrier regs.