Stakeholders Weigh In On President's Title II Stand

Net Activists Celebrate, Industry Calls It Harmful
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Reaction was swift Monday to the President's call for reclassifying Internet Access under Title II.

CTIA: the Wireless Association called it a "gross overreaction," Verizon called it a "gratuitous" and "radical" reversal, while Title II proponents were celebrating.

“Today, the Obama Administration expanded its leadership to promote an open internet by supporting the strongest tools to prevent blocking or throttling of internet traffic, and by also supporting the strongest tools to deter fast lanes and prioritized traffic on the public's most essential communications platform of the 21st century," said Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman.

"The President wasn't kidding when he said he'd take a back seat to no one on net neutrality,” said former FCC chairman Michael Copps, currently a special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “Thank you, Mr. President. And thanks to the millions of Americans who helped make this happen. As someone who has been pushing for Title II since 2002, when the FCC wrongly classified broadband, I am thrilled. Now the FCC must show the same kind of leadership and courage."

Imposing antiquated common carrier regulation, or Title II, on the vibrant mobile wireless ecosystem would be a gross overreaction that would ignore the bipartisan views of members of Congress and the FCC, would impose inappropriate regulation on a dynamic industry and would threaten mobile provider’s ability to invest and innovate, all to the detriment of consumers," said CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker. "CTIA strongly opposes such an approach.”

"The president who promised to take a back seat to no one on Net Neutrality has finally gotten in the driver's seat," said Free Press President Craig Aaron. "And he may have saved the Internet at the moment it was in the greatest jeopardy. "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the other commissioners now must abandon convoluted proposals and make clear rules that will protect Internet users and stand up in court. As the president made very clear, the only sure way to do that is under Title II."

Verizon, which sued to block the 2010 Open Internet order, said Title II would be a big threat to the Open Internet.

“Reclassification under Title II, which for the first time would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open Internet, competition and innovation," the company said in a statement. "That course will likely also face strong legal challenges and would likely not stand up in court.  Moreover, this approach would be gratuitous.  As all major broadband providers and their trade groups have conceded, the FCC already has sufficient authority under Section 706 to adopt rules that address any practices that threaten harm to consumers or competition, including authority to prohibit ‘paid prioritization.’ For effective, enforceable, legally sustainable net neutrality rules, the Commission should look to Section 706.”