FCC adopts Title II regulation for broadband Internet access



Yesterday the FCC adopted new rules aiming to protect the Open Internet, marking a monumental shift away from its up to now light-touch policy approach.


The resolution approved adopts president Obama’s plan –read our view on President Obama’s statement–to regulate the Internet. FCC’s approach leaves behind twenty years of bipartisan consensus in favor of a free an open Internet that unleashed unprecedented investment and enabled the broadband Internet age consumers now enjoy: it was signed after a 3-to-2 vote, probably a very tight result for such a revolutionary approach. In fact, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pay strongly dissented from the final decision as it represent a shift toward government control of the Internet; it gives the FCC for the first time the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works, even the rates Internet service providers may charge and out-lawing pro-consumer service plans.


Telefonica fully supports the Open Internet, meaning that no one should be able to abuse its dominance and no restrictions of consumers’ choice should exist through blocking, throttling or limiting access to content, applications or services customers want to access. We believe preserving an Open Internet is a vital and shared interest for our societies and economies. We consider that imposing heavy-handed, old-fashioned telecommunication regulation on the Internet is simply wrong and in fact may lead to undesired results on innovation and investments, to the detriment of consumers and economies.


Fortunately, Verizon’s innovation capabilities have not yet been affected, having provided a fast, witty, incisive and successful response to FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ move imposing 1930s rules on the internet: Verizon has adapted its statement to the old fashioned rules now imposed by the FCC and has written it in Morse code.


We always argued there is also a right for ISPs and broadband providers to innovate. Internet has successfully developed to the vibrant ecosystem we know today thanks to the permission-less innovation it has allowed through a light-touch regulatory approach. And FCC’s decision is a move away from these principles.