The Internet Association, which represents 40 of the United States’ leading technology companies — including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others — on Monday filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration.
The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA, and any attempt to unravel them could have a disruptive impact on the industry.
Good for the Economy?
The 2015 Net neutrality rules not only were upheld in a 2016 court decision, but also have helped spur investment in the tech sector, notes the filing, submitted by Internet Association President Michael Beckerman and General Counsel Abigail Slater. The rules also helped accelerate a critical new cloud computing economy that would be hurt if they should be overturned.
“Clear rules of the road have given edge-based apps and services the certainty needed to attract investment and growth without being concerned about ISPs acting as gatekeepers,” states the IA document, “and the growth of these services has driven demand for faster and better broadband access,” which has led to continued ISP investment and broadband subscriptions.
The 2015 rules, which prevent ISPs from blocking, throttling speeds or biasing Web traffic, have come under intense scrutiny since new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai outlined plans in an April speech to roll back the regulations as part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to loosen government control over various business entities.
Investment has increased since the Net neutrality rules were enacted — including a 5.3 percent, or US$7.3 billion, increase in telecom investment by publicly traded companies, along with a 56 percent, or $89.9 billion, increase in cable investment since 2009, the Internet Association reported.
Implementation Is Key