Jonathan Spalter

Congress: Net Neutrality Rules Should Look Forward, Not Back

First things first. USTelecom’s members — large and small — are committed to maintaining our open internet and delivering consumers and businesses the content and services they demand.

Unfortunately, the Save the Internet Act takes our open and thriving internet backward — not forward — and would have negative implications for America’s competitiveness in the global digital economy.

Our view: it is important that lawmakers — now on both sides of the aisle — continue working on legislation to make net neutrality the law of the land. It is time for Congress to finally provide the certainty that will eliminate the confounding regulatory ‘rinse-and-repeat cycle’ that is bad for consumers, investment, and innovation.

Rather than ‘saving the internet,’ the legislation introduced today would lead only to more uncertainty. Members of Congress considering such a drastic change in internet policy should understand what has not happened since the FCC’s 2017 order restoring the modern, pro-consumer framework that fueled internet policy through 20 years of astronomical growth.

The internet as we know it is still very much open, thriving and growing. The dire predictions that internet service providers were poised to engage in throttling, blocking and anti-competitive prioritization have simply… not happened.

Rather than ‘saving the internet’ the legislation introduced today would lead only to more uncertainty.

So what has happened since the FCC’s policy change?

Increased investment has produced significant benefits for consumers as carriers have plowed more resources into improving both deployment and speed.

Because of a perceived regulatory gap, some states have moved to implement open internet laws and executive orders. A 50-state patchwork threatens service for customers, will hamper innovation and dampen investment in local communities.

None of this activity — in the states or the courts — is helpful to consumers or businesses. With no end in sight, a legislative solution that provides a permanent, enforceable, national open internet framework is essential to resolving this issue once and for all.

While net neutrality has become a divisive and partisan issue, the rhetoric hides a simple truth: there is broad agreement among providers and policymakers that we must protect an open internet and prohibit certain anti-consumer activities. This is where the debate should focus.

USTelecom members are proud of their contribution and commitment to America’s communications networks and the millions of customers they support. We are determined to work with Congress to maintain our dynamic and open internet to optimize investment, encourage pro-consumer innovation, sustain our digital leadership, and truly save the internet for generations to come.

Note: This piece originally appeared on Medium. You can view it here.