New IIA National Survey Reaffirms FCC Assumptions on Consumer Internet Use that Support Restoration of Broadband Classification as an Information Service. National survey by nonpartisan pollster confirms consumers’ actual use of the internet, supports why broadband access should not be classified as a Title II service.
[news release] Today [30 August], the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) filed reply comments in the FCC’s Internet Freedom proceeding in support of the agency’s proposal to reinstate the information service classification of broadband service and return to the long-standing, bi-partisan, light-touch regulatory framework that propelled exponential internet growth for nearly two decades.
IIA commissioned a national survey in response to the FCC’s specific questions on how consumers use the internet. The survey, performed by a nonpartisan polling and market intelligence company CivicScience, highlights how Americans interact and use the internet, and reaffirms the FCC’s assumptions that broadband, is by definition, an information service.
CONSUMERS’ ACTUAL USE OF THE INTERNET
With nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults (72%) frequently reading or watching news, sports, or other content online, the survey highlights the information services that consumers commonly access on the internet. “The survey results make clear how consumers actually use the internet and that broadband access fits squarely within the definition of an information service,” commented IIA Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons. “IIA supports the Commission’s proposal to restore broadband internet access to its status as an information service, under which the internet grew and flourished for nearly two decades, starting during the Clinton Administration
INVESTMENT IN INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE
IIA also supports FCC record evidence that shows how nearly 20 years of regulating broadband as an information service has enabled greater investment that has ultimately led to faster and more reliable internet connections. IIA argues that following the agency’s pre-existing light-touch regulatory framework is the best way for the nation to maximize broadband investment and expand high-speed internet services in the future. IIA’s comments emphasize that the combination of Title I regulation and the FCC’s principles for an open internet have worked together to promote investment, and it urges that broadband’s information services status be restored as proposed in the FCC’s NPRM.
“Private investors seek the highest rates of return on the capital they invest,” explained IIA Founding Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman. “Regulatory uncertainties created by the Title II Order have caused investors to retrench. Returning broadband to information services status will have strong benefits for the economy as a whole, beyond broadband and the limited scope of the Commission’s regulated industries.”
INNOVATION WITH BROADBAND AS AN INFORMATION SERVICE
In its filing, IIA notes how the explosion in broadband investment and deployment under the Commission’s prior information services classification spurred tremendous innovation. The next wave of innovation will soon arrive as wireless network operators actively prepare for new high-speed 5G wireless broadband network technology and services with ultra-high data rates and reliability.
In its filing, IIA concludes that reclassification of broadband under Title II has hurt investment, innovation, and consumers. The Alliance states that the Commission has wisely proposed a step that will advance investment and innovation and, once again, enable the flourishing of broadband freed of unnecessary regulations that are inappropriate to the internet ecosystem.
“The Commission should act promptly, restoring the correct legal understanding of broadband, reviving the bipartisan common-sense agreement under which the internet grew and flourished, and opening the way to the next generations of investment and innovation,” urged IIA Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher, who chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet. “The Commission’s ‘predictive judgment’ that restoring broadband Internet access service under Title I will increase investment is justified by experience, given the explosion of broadband investment and access under the previous classification of broadband as an information service.”
Boucher added, “Beyond this, and with no disrespect to the Commission’s important work in this proceeding, IIA reiterates its call for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to ensure permanently an open Internet that protects consumers, innovation, and investment in the Nation’s high-speed broadband networks.”To review IIA’s Reply Comments in full, in addition to the CivicScience poll data, visit InternetInnovation.org/wp-content/uploads/IIA_Restoring_Internet_Freedom.pdf