Last week, USTelecom Senior Vice President, Law & Policy Jonathan Banks testified before the D.C. Council’s Committee on Government Operations to weigh in on the importance of the FCC’s decision to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order and return to a lighter-touch regulation framework.
In his testimony before the D.C. Council, Banks reiterated that all USTelecom members support an open internet, also known as net neutrality, according to the definition given by the Council itself. He emphasized that the debate was not over the openness of the internet, but the best legal framework to keep the internet open.
Under the Communications Act of 1996, bi-partisan consensus was to implement a light-touch regulatory framework, allowing the internet to grow and innovate at record speed. Broadband providers invested over 1.5 trillion dollars in building broadband networks, innovation thrived and new internet content, applications and business models became part of Americans’ daily lives. Transversely, in the last two years under the 2015 Open Internet rule, investment declined as indicated in a recent USTelecom analysis.
Banks also stressed the consumer benefits of the FCC’s action: reducing barriers to broadband development and investment; allowing broadband providers to connect to rural America and other underserved areas, and giving providers the ability to keep up with high demand for faster and larger bandwidth by already connected customers. Concluding his testimony, Banks reaffirmed that broadband providers support Congress putting into place permanent, enforceable net neutrality rules that reflect a modern pro-consumer approach to broadband and the internet.