Broadband Industry Blasts FCC's 'Counterproductive' Net Neutrality Rules

Consumer advocates cheered news that the FCC is preparing to restore the Obama-era net neutrality rules, but the broadband provider industry is blasting the move as counterproductive.

The agency plans to vote later this month on Chair Jessica Rosenworcel's proposal to reclassify broadband as a utility service and impose common carrier rules -- including prohibitions on blocking or throttling traffic, and creating paid fast lanes. Those rules were approved by the FCC in 2015, but repealed during the Trump administration.

The cable lobbying group NCTA--The Television and Internet Association says the proposed rules -- which it dubs "net fatality" -- would hamper broadband deployment.

“In the absence of any harm, the FCC is barreling ahead with a backward-looking, unnecessary proposal,” president and CEO Michael Powell stated.



“Reimposing heavy-handed regulation will not just hobble network investment and innovation, it will also seriously jeopardize our nation’s collective efforts to build and sustain reliable broadband in rural and unserved communities,” he added.

Industry organization USTelecom separately called the proposed rules an “anti-consumer regulatory distraction.”

But advocacy group Public Knowledge hailed the agency's upcoming vote, arguing that classifying broadband as a utility service will allow FCC to address potentially discriminatory practices, and protect broadband users' data.

The move will “equip the FCC with the flexible authority it needs to address emerging threats to the open internet, including discriminatory interconnection and billing practices, and to safeguard internet users’ sensitive personal information from being used by broadband providers in abusive or undisclosed ways,” Public Knowledge legal director John Bergmayer stated.

Net neutrality proponent Free Press argued in a report issued earlier this week that open internet regulations won't stop broadband providers from upgrading and deploying their networks.

Rosenworcel stated Wednesday that the repeal of the Obama-era rules “handcuffed” the agency's ability to “fully secure broadband networks, protect consumer data, and ensure the internet remains fast, open, and fair."

She added in a video posted to X (formerly Twitter) that the proposed regulations will enable the agency to "protect the internet in the name of national security and public safety."

“If there's an internet outage in your area, the FCC could now have the power to work with companies to help fix it,” Rosenworcel said. “And if bad actors and foreign adversaries are using our networks for nefarious purposes, we would now have additional tools to fight them.”

Commissioner Brendan Carr, who voted to repeal the former rules, stated Wednesday that he plans to vote against the proposed neutrality rules.

"I’m a No on this unlawful plan," he posted on X. "Americans want more freedom on the Internet—not micromanagement by government bureaucrats."

The full text of the proposed rules won't be available until Thursday, but an FCC summary said that reclassifying broadband as a utility service will give the agency more authority to investigate internet outages, and to protect users' privacy -- including by prohibiting carriers from selling consumers' geolocation data.

2 comments about "Broadband Industry Blasts FCC's 'Counterproductive' Net Neutrality Rules".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, April 4, 2024 at 10:21 p.m.

    It's time to disband The FCC it's nothing but a partisan agency no matter if a conservative has control or a liberal chairwoman Jessica is clueless and needs to go, she has done nothing other than abuse her power picking on broadcast TV groups which they have every right to sue the FCC for abusing their power.

    It time for a new org to take over and watch over the media that is nonpartisan in nature unlike the FCC wanting to act that broadcast doesn't have competition that it's still the 1960s than 2024 with only 4 or 5 channels, but Jessica and the other 3 don't get it and believe that broadcast is the only game in town when the competition is big tech. This is a step for government censorship which is wrong on so many levels which The FCC has no right to censor me if they do I'm going to sue them. 

  2. Ben B from Retired, April 4, 2024 at 10:25 p.m.

    Which I believe it is a step towards to banning free speech in my opinion. I hit send to early forgot to add to it.

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