Georgetown Center Slams FCC's Title II Take

Counts ways FCC has dismissed evidence, overstated threats
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The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy has come to the aid of ISPs making a case against new Title II-based network neutrality rules.

That is according to arguments in an amicus brief being filed Thursday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit (briefs in support of ISPs are due Aug. 6).

In the brief, the center's scholars/economists argue that the FCC overstates the benefits of Title II based on the groundless assumption that ISPs are gatekeepers bent on harming consumers and content providers, and that the FCC at the same time underplays—make that "dismisses"—the "real threats to innovation, investment, and output from Title II regulation."

Those are two of the Center's three key arguments. The third is that the FCC has dismissed the benefits of the past two decades of light-touch regulation. Among the stats it offers up for broadband under that light touch: Broadband connections have increased from 380,000 in 2005 to 290 million in 2013; from 2002 to 2013, the price of Internet access service fell by 40% compared to overall CPI; and investment in broadband has gone from $24.8 billion to $75 billion.

The FCC's new net neutrality rules went into effect June 12. Cable operators and ISPs challenged them in court, with their opening briefs due July 30. The court has scheduled Dec. 4 for oral argument, which means a decision is likely sometime in first or second quarter 2016.

The court last year remanded the FCC's 2010 net neutrality rules due to insufficient legal justification, which prompted the move to Title II and the court pushback from ISPs.

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