July 17, 2014

WASHINGTON – In comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), representing 58 of the nation’s leading information and communications companies, called on commissioners to develop the next generation of policies for an open Internet that protects consumers, allows for innovation, and encourages investment to increase online capacity, services, applications, and choices for the consumer.

“The Internet has transformed our world and people care deeply about its future because it plays an extraordinary role in our lives,” said Vince Jesaitis, ITI’s Vice President for Government Affairs.  “It has also been a revolutionary platform for new technologies, economic growth, and job creation. For that to continue, we recommend the FCC act in a balanced way to ensure an open Internet that protects consumers, fosters innovation, and incentivizes investment, deployment, and adoption of broadband—which are all key to future technology development.”

Since a January appeals court ruling upended previous rules governing Net Neutrality, ITI has worked to find constructive solutions so the Internet continues to be an engine for expression, innovation, economic growth and job creation.  ITI’s comments to the FCC focus on these key areas with specific recommendations:

  • Protect the consumer and ensure there is a strong no-blocking principle:  ITI believes the consumer should have access to the vibrant ecosystem and transformative innovation we have seen over the past two decades as consumer broadband Internetbegan to evolve into what we experience today.  This means being able to access the services, applications, information, and content they want online, on any device.  ITI urges the FCC to adopt a no-blocking rule so consumers can access the information, services, and applications they wish to access on a multitude of devices, freely and unfettered, on a robust Internet access connection.
  • Increase transparency for consumers and an open Internet:  ITI encourages the FCC to increase transparency to advance and ensure consumers and edge providers understand how the network operates and is managed.  Within reason, each wireline and wireless broadband Internet service provider must disclose sufficient information regarding the actual price, performance, and network management of its broadband Internet access services including what traffic is filtered or prioritized.  This includes how traffic management practices are applied and what constitutes congestion on a network.
  • Promote better, stronger, faster Internet access:  ITI believes that it is important that any rules adopted by the FCC preserve a competitive online playing field that does not hold back the incentive to invest in next generation networks that increase the speeds and capacity consumers demand.  As noted above, a balanced approach by the FCC can protect consumers as well as innovative startups and disruptive new technologies while also promoting investment and expansion by service providers of their wireline and wireless broadband networks.
  • Do not squelch innovation:  ITI has long promoted maintaining a competitive, innovative Internet ecosystem and we believe that can continue as long as the FCC proceeds with a light regulatory touch so companies can continue to innovate and disrupt through competitive products and services.  Reclassification of broadband Internet access service may raise difficult definitional questions about current and future online services that benefit consumers who connect and share video, voice and messaging.  It could also encourage foreign governments to move forward with onerous regulations on Internet services.

As the FCC proceeds with developing their open Internet policies, ITI’s comments conclude by urging commissioners to provide reasonable open Internet protections for end-users, protect the ability to innovate and experiment across the network, and do no harm to the incentive to invest by both broadband and online service providers.

About ITI.  ITI is the premier advocacy and policy organization for the world’s leading innovation companies. ITI navigates the relationships between policymakers, companies, and non-governmental organizations, providing creative solutions that advance the development and use of technology around the world. Visit itic.org to learn more. Follow us on Twitter @ITI_TechTweets.