Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania

Issue Briefs

Net neutrality

Pennsylvania’s Internet service providers (ISPs) have always been committed to – and offered – the commonwealth’s consumers a powerful, open Internet experience so they can enjoy online content, services and applications of their choosing.

Our state’s broadband cable industry has embraced and fostered the development of an open Internet where companies do not block, throttle or otherwise interfere with the customer’s desire to go wherever they want on the web. Consumers demand it and, more importantly, it makes good business sense to provide customers full value for their Internet connections.

Prior to 2015, bipartisan federal Internet policy unanimously supported a “light touch” regulatory model which provided the incentive to invest and build some of the most advanced networks in the world. Since the mid-1990s, more than $8 billion in private investment was injected into building powerful networks that are available to the vast majority of most Pennsylvanians, in urban and rural communities.

But the FCC’s misguided 2015 decision to impose heavy government regulation of the Internet networks raises costs, which are ultimately born by consumers, and threatens the continued growth and expansion of those networks throughout the commonwealth and the United States. Consumers are best served by policies that encourage ongoing investment and innovation especially as technology changes, network demands increase and stakeholders focus on closing the digital divide in every community.

Only Congress has the power to conclusively settle this debate and provide the FCC with clear authority to enforce open Internet principles. It’s time for bipartisan legislation that will end the decades-old legal controversy, and move forward enforceable open Internet principles in statute. Such action will allow everyone to move beyond endless partisan debate, and the industry to focus on building and expanding its world-class networks that continue to create jobs and advance prosperity in Pennsylvania and around the nation.

No one would argue that the growth of the Internet, through the access of broadband infrastructure built by private investment – including Pennsylvania’s cable companies – has been anything less than revolutionary in the communications, research and educational growth of modern society. It will continue to grow if simply left alone. Unnecessary regulation comes at a price, and in this burgeoning industry the price would be paid in lost business development, stifled economic growth and a major step backward in Pennsylvania’s – and America’s – historic technological expansion.

Again, we strongly advocate that consumers be allowed to access any lawful content, applications and services available over the Internet, while utilizing today’s expanding technology and hardware in a way that causes no harm to broadband networks. We would argue that this is the wish of most Pennsylvania consumers as well.