THE BLOG
07/22/2014 05:35 pm ET | Updated Sep 21, 2014

"Reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a Title II ...would only endanger the entire Internet ecosystem."

Verizon Policy Blog, July 16, 2014

"Reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a Title II common carriage telecommunications service, as some have suggested, would be a radical departure that would not achieve its proponents' stated goals and would only endanger the entire Internet ecosystem. The arcane regulatory framework embodied in Title II was crafted for 19th Century railroad monopolies and the early 20th century one-wire telephone world. The price and service regulation inherent in Title II have no place in today's fast-paced and competitive Internet marketplace, and the threats posed by this approach would not likely be confined to broadband providers, but would spread inevitably to other Internet sectors. Moreover, such an approach would be unlawful and, at a minimum, would result in years of counterproductive uncertainty for the entire industry.

"Ironically, reclassification would impose these harms and not even preclude the differentiation of service that its proponents seek to ban. Title II expressly recognizes that reasonable discrimination is lawful and has long permitted many of the practices that Title II proponents criticize. Thus, the application of Title II requirements to broadband providers would amount to regulation for the sake of regulation, strapping a straightjacket onto this competitive and dynamic sector.

"In contrast, a balanced framework will ensure that broadband providers act reasonably and would protect against backsliding or bad acts that threaten consumers or competition, while preserving flexibility for all providers to experiment with new approaches that could offer new choices and benefit consumers and small players alike.

"Verizon supports and relies upon a robust and open Internet. Our customers demand it, and our business depends on it. We have committed to our customers our support for the open Internet, and our broadband Internet access services enable them to go where they want and do what they want online. We invest in world-class broadband networks, such as our all-fiber FiOS network and our 4G LTE wireless network, to keep pace with consumers' demand and offer an ever-more-robust range of services. We also are actively engaged in many other parts of the Internet ecosystem, including through our Internet backbone networks, content delivery networks, over-the-top services, cloud-services, and other innovative services that rely on the open Internet and enable a better Internet experience."

Verizon's Open Internet Comments, Excerpts, July 15, 2014

A. Reclassification Would Be a Radical and Risky Reversal of Successful Policy Uniformly Championed by Commissions for Two Decades.

"Imposing a Title II common carriage regime on broadband providers would be a radical change in course that would only chill, not spur innovation. Title II is a regulatory dinosaur, crafted eighty years ago - and based on 19th-Century laws regulating railroads - to address the one-wire world of rotary telephones. All of the hallmarks of Title II - rate regulation, mandatory fees, and the need for advance regulatory permission before offering or discontinuing services - were tailored to address an environment characterized by a government-sponsored monopoly for the provision of pure, relatively simple, and standardized transmission services (i.e., rotary telephone service). That government-granted monopoly and the rudimentary service it proffered would be a radical and risky new approach for today's fast-paced and competitive marketplace for broadband and the wide range of sophisticated services that it encompasses

"For nearly twenty years, the light-touch approach uniformly taken by successive administrations has been successful in ensuring investment, experimentation, and explosive growth in broadband capabilities and services.

"For example, that successful regulatory framework has spurred Verizon and others throughout the Internet ecosystem to invest billions of dollars in building out broadband networks and developing the services that ride on them.

"Title II, by contrast, would cripple that freedom, flexibility, and innovation, for its core provisions - such as intrusive price regulation and entry and exit regulation - are classic examples of the kind of arcane regulations that deter investment. Price regulation under Section 201 would empower the Commission, not the market, to determine the value of broadband Internet access. As the Department of Justice warned as recently as 2010, such price regulation would threaten investment in broadband infrastructure and could "stifl[e] the infrastructure investments needed to expand broadband access."

"Reclassification would create a major drag on new and improved broadband infrastructure, even though substantial investment in such infrastructure is precisely what is needed to keep pace with exponentially increasing consumer demands for bandwidth. By chilling such investment and discouraging innovation, Title II and related proposals would only impede, not advance, the public's access to and enjoyment of the Internet. Broadband services and features would ossify, become less robust, and be less able to meet consumers' demands over time. It is no wonder that previous administrations uniformly have avoided that radical path."