Thank you to the over four million Americans who participated in the Open Internet proceeding. Thanks to them, this decision on Internet openness was itself the most open proceeding in the history of the FCC.
As a result, the FCC today has taken an important step that should reassure consumers, innovators and the financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.
Consumers now know that lawful content will not be blocked or their service throttled. Today’s action puts in place bright line rules to ban these practices outright.
Innovators now know they will have open access to consumers without worrying about pay-for-preference fast lanes. This, too, is a bright line rule to ban paid prioritization.
Financial markets now know that rate regulation, tariffing and forced unbundling – the old-style utility regulation – has been superseded by a modernized regulatory approach that has already been demonstrated to work. The rules under which the wireless industry invested $300 billion to build a vibrant and growing business are the pro-investment model for the rules we adopted today.
The future of the Internet does not reside in backward-looking regulation from another era. There are 48 sections of Title II of the Communications Act. The modern regulatory approach we adopted today cuts away 27 of those provisions (even more than were removed for mobile voice service) to establish the above-mentioned bright line regulations for issues that exist today, and to apply the well-known “just and reasonable” standard as the rule for Internet activity going forward.
The rationale for this modernization of Title II is simple: we want consumers and innovators to be protected, and we want ISPs to continue to have the economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks. It is in the interest of consumers, innovators and Wall Street that nothing in today’s Order alters the economic model for continued network expansion. The ISPs’ consumer revenue streams tomorrow will be the same as they were yesterday. I believe this is why Sprint, T-Mobile, Frontier Communications, and Google Fiber, along with hundreds of smaller phone company ISPs have said they would continue to invest under the Commission’s modern regulatory approach.
Today is a red letter day both for an Open Internet, and for a broadband future of investment and expansion.