The following may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs:
“Tomorrow, the FCC will release a draft order that will bring to an end this country’s brief and ill-conceived experiment with heavy-handed regulation of the internet. Abandoning decades of prudent, bipartisan regulatory restraint, the Wheeler FCC took the draconian step of dragging broadband access services into the morass of common carriage regulation, imposing a new conduct standard that effectively gave the FCC a blank check to shut down innovative new ISP services that consumers want based on little more than speculative concerns. While we look forward to reading the details of the order, this action will return broadband in the U.S. to a regulatory regime that emphasizes private investment and innovation over lumbering government intervention, ending the regulatory uncertainty created by the 2015 rules and the deleterious impact such uncertainty had on investment and job creation.
“Make no doubt, the circulation of this order will bring the ‘sky is falling’ crowd to the fore, and they will foretell a day when websites will be blocked, content censored and internet access controlled by ISP overlords. Such claims, while great for fundraising, are as nonsensical now as they were a decade ago when they were first prophesied. The internet was an open environment for innovation and inclusion prior to intrusive government intervention and will continue to remain open after this order is adopted. All major ISPs have publicly committed to preserving an open internet and the proposed transparency rules will require that all ISPs clearly and publicly articulate their internet practices. Any ISP that is so foolish as to seek to engage in gatekeeping will be quickly and decisively called out.
“Importantly, the adoption of this order will restore the careful balance needed between ensuring internet freedom while continuing to attract private investment in broadband facilities – investment that is essential to delivering on the promise of broadband for all Americans.”