NCTA: Don't Regulate Net Neutrality - Broadcasting & Cable

NCTA: Don't Regulate Net Neutrality

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The cable industry asked the FCC Friday to leave the Internet unregulated, saying it is network flexibility that has promopted hundreds of billions of dollars in investments in network build-outs and upgrades.

Filing comments in the FCC's inquiry into network neutrality, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association argued that mandating "net neutrality" is unecessary and counterproductive.

It was the FCC's decision--which was upheld in court--to remove open access provisions on cable networks, then telephone and wireless networks, that gave impetus to the network neutraliy movement, with a big assist from former AT&T Chairman Ed Whitacre. Whitacre's claim alarmed Web companies and consumer advocates by openly declaring he thought Google and Yahoo! should have to pay for access to customers via AT&T networks the company hadd invested big bucks in.

Echoing a phrase in a filing by the broadcaster-backed Media Institue in its comments, NCTA said that network neutrality was a "solution in search of a problem."

NCTA said that high-speed Internet access has "flourished," and that arguments that broadband providers will block access to Internet content they disapprove of, or will provide "fast lanes" for well heeled customers, disadvantaging the next Google-like garage start-up, are based on "pure conjecture, completely untethered from any facts," NCTA said.

"There is no reason for the Commission to change course now," the association concludes. "Regulation of the provision of broadband services and the management of broadband networks, no matter how

well-intentioned, almost certainly would reduce competitive investment and constrain growth in

networks and the services that depend on them.

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