updated 04:40 pm EDT, Tue May 13, 2014
Providers urge Wheeler to stick to initial plan, avoid reclassification of broadband
Senators, Internet companies and citizens aren't the only groups issuing letters to the Federal Communications Commission over proposed changes to net neutrality. CEOs of major telecommunication companies have stepped in, issuing a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners, asking that changes in policy stay away from the concept of possible reclassification of broadband as public utilities.
In the letter obtained by The Verge, CEOs of companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable propose that the plan stay outlined as Wheeler initially proposed it, before undergoing the slate of changes that were proposed earlier in the week following scathing criticism. The parties of the letter urge the FCC not to seek reclassification of broadband under Title II, after government regulation was sought out by "a concerted publicity campaign by some advocacy groups."
"As demonstrated repeatedly, the future of the open Internet has nothing to do with Title II regulation, and Title II has nothing to do with the open Internet," says the letter.
According to the letter, these providers already operate their networks in an open manner. Changing the way the Internet is regulated would "impose great costs, allowing unprecedented government micromanagement of all aspects of the Internet economy." Pointed out are the growth and infrastructure improvements that providers have been able to achieve under the current structure, which is currently under threat.
Furthermore, any changes would have an impact on the economy as outlined in the document. Any change under Title II could "stifle innovation and investment in infrastructure, leaving any new features either delayed or never taken into consideration because of regulatory issues. Consumers would face less choice, and a less adaptive and responsive Internet," states the letter. Internet experimentation would come to a close, replaced by entrepreneurs asking for permission from the government in the telcos' scenario.
The group also questions the legal foothold the FCC would have to propose such reclassifications. They point to it being questionable that the commission could even do so, let alone grant itself more regulatory oversight. The Title II announcement in 2010, and previous action of the commission, are laid out to help defend their position. This is in addition to the letter bringing up the idea that the common-carrier approach would bring out " years -- if not decades -- of endless litigation and debate."