FCC, FTC, Comments and Net Neutrality

Good roundup piece in PCMag.com on industry and activists’ positions on net neutrality, tied to Monday’s deadline for comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality proceedings, “Battle Lines Drawn as Net Neutrality Comments Roll In.”

AT&T’s spokesman on the issue provides the necessary context and a good argument for regulatory restraint.

Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs at AT&T, accused supporters of manufacturing a threat and failing to identify any real problem that would make net neutrality rules necessary.

“Over and over again, we hear [supporters] cite the single instance where the FCC felt compelled to take action, namely the Comcast-BitTorrent case,” Cicconi said. “But one example does not a compelling case make. Indeed, thanks to the DC Circuit, the Comcast case ironically now stands for the opposite proposition—namely, that government must have compelling reasons if it’s going to substitute its judgment for that of the free market, and when it acts it must do so only with clear legislative authority.”

PCMag.com’s reporter Chloe Albanesius participated in the reporters’ conference call with the NAM, U.S. Chamber and TechAmerica, the trade group.

The FCC needs to reflect and “should refrain from moving forward absent clear congressional authority,” according to NAM’s Marc-Anthony Signorino. The FCC should focus on “fostering innovation and job growth,” he said.

In related news, the Senate Small Business Committee today holds a hearing, ““Connecting Main Street to the World: Federal Efforts to Expand Small Business Internet Access.” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski testifies.

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