Today, we’ve filed our comments in the FCC’s Open Internet Broadband Industry Practice rulemaking proceeding. We look forward to reading the comments of the public, the full range of advocacy organizations across the spectrum, diversity organizations, and the many communications and technology companies who will be filing comments. We know the debate will be lively.
As Chairman Genachowski has observed, the overarching lesson of the Internet “is that we cannot know what tomorrow holds on the Internet, except that it will be unexpected: that the genius of American innovators is unlimited; and that the fewer obstacles these innovators face in bringing their work to the world, the greater our opportunity as citizens and as a nation.” We couldn’t agree more.
We think the government’s policies in the nearly 15 years since the cable industry first began bringing high-speed Internet service to American homes have struck the right balance. Those policies have encouraged cable companies and phone companies and wireless companies and satellite companies to invest more and more in bringing more choice, faster speeds, and a safer Internet to tens of millions of Americans. And those policies have been premised on a “first, do no harm” philosophy that means any regulation of the Internet should only occur if there are actual and substantial harms to consumers… and recognizes that regulation can have unintended consequences that themselves harm consumers.
This philosophy has stimulated hundreds of billions of dollars in investment in broadband networks. And that network investment and innovation has fueled an incredible creative explosion – in the U.S. and around the world – in new services, applications and equipment that has made the Internet the miracle we know today.
We have urged the FCC not to mess with success, and asked them to move cautiously as they consider new rules for the Internet. As I’ve noted before, in working on its National Broadband Plan, the FCC has found that continued massive private investment is required if our nation is to be a broadband leader. If the FCC adopts new rules that respond to hypothetical consumer harms, that could result in the loss of real benefits to the nation – more investment, more jobs, and a faster, safer and ubiquitous broadband Internet. We’ve also given them a number of ideas on how any rules that they may ultimately choose to adopt – assuming they can show that rules are needed – can work better and more fairly to preserve an open Internet.
All the comments filed with the FCC today are just the first step in what will likely be a months-long process. We’ll read the comments of others and file “replies” to them at the FCC in early March. I hope you’ll take the time to read our comments and share your thoughts.