High Tech Files Comments with the FCC Urging a Balanced Approach to Broadband Rulemaking

Jan 15, 2010, 09:46 ET from Information Technology Industry Council

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Late last night the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the October 2009 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to preserve the open Internet and the Broadband Industry's practices.  

ITI's membership is a veritable Who's Who of the firms that design and provide the applications, content, software, hardware and network equipment used by providers and purchasers of broadband Internet access.  ITI is, therefore, uniquely positioned to provide the FCC recommendations on the need for a carefully crafted, balanced approach in this proceeding.

Most notably, as part of the High Tech Broadband Coalition, ITI previously proposed a balanced set of four conditions that were adopted as Chairman Michael Powell's Four Freedoms for preserving an open Internet.  Those Four Freedoms later formed the basis for similar principles announced in the FCC's 2005 broadband Internet access service Policy Statement.

"No other group of high tech companies has been more integral to the development of the Internet and technology-related jobs and services," said Dean Garfield, president and CEO of ITI.  "To ensure that more Americans have access to the Internet, it is important that we move away from a zero-sum approach and instead together focus on a FCC framework that is balanced and continues to promote the interests of consumers and business alike."

A Balanced Approach

ITI encourages the FCC to take a balanced approach on the appropriate means of crafting and enforcing the six principles proposed in the NPRM.  The key is to strike a proper balance between clarifying the meaning of the six principles while at the same time ensuring a flexible application of these principles in specific cases.

Key Overarching Objectives

As part of this proceeding, the FCC should be guided by the following considerations:

  • Extend and Preserve an Open Internet– In order to build on the tremendous growth and success of the Internet, the FCC's actions should aim to encourage innovation as well as network investment and broadband consumer choices.
  • Reduce the Level of Regulatory Uncertainty– By providing important guidance to the meaning of these six principles, the FCC will increase the likelihood that network owners will invest in enhancing the capabilities of their networks and services.
  • Provide for Individualized, Case-by-Case Review – The FCC guidance should allow for application of rules for new and novel cases.  Given the pace of innovation, the FCC needs a flexible approach that can only be achieved by dealing with each case independently.
  • Limit Action to Conduct that is Either Anticompetitive or Substantially Harmful to Consumers as Defined by the Communications Act – It is critical these standards be consistent with the specific policy mandates set forth in the Communications Act.

Further Guidelines for Core Principles

In addition, the FCC should be guided by the following principles:

  • Treat Certain Actions as Presumptively Permissible – Treat actions, such as network management and management services, as presumptively permissible unless these actions are deemed to be anticompetitive or harm consumers.
  • Encourage Strong Transparency – To enable broadband purchasers, providers of applications, content and services, as well as regulators to monitor conduct, clear and comprehensive public disclosure will allow informed decisions as to the type of broadband service to purchase.
  • Expand Broadband Capacity – The FCC should be cautious in adopting guidelines that will restrict investments in our nation's broadband networks.

ITI believes that by following these core objectives and principles the FCC will preserve its administrative discretion while striking the right balance by providing predictable rules for network owners.  

About ITI

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premiere voice, advocate, and thought leader for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. ITI is widely recognized as the tech industry's most effective advocacy organization in Washington D.C., and in various foreign capitals around the world.

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