November 10, 2014 / 8:01 PM / 5 years ago

Factbox: Reactions to Obama's push for strong net neutrality rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The following are written statements issued in response to President Obama’s comments on Monday pressuring the federal communications regulator to adopt Internet traffic rules that would treat Internet providers more like public utilities.

Statement from Federal Communications Commision Chairman Tom Wheeler:

“As an independent regulatory agency we will incorporate the president’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding. We welcome comment on it and how it proposes to use Title II of the Communications Act.”

Statement by AT&T’s (T.N) senior executive vice president of legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi:

“We feel the actions called for by the White House are inconsistent with decades of legal precedent as well as congressional intent. Moreover, if the government were going to make such a momentous decision as regulating the entire Internet like a public utility, that decision is more properly made by the Congress and not by unelected regulators without any public record to support the change in regulation. If the FCC puts such rules in place, we would expect to participate in a legal challenge to such action.”

Statement by Verizon Communications (VZ.N):

“Verizon supports the open Internet, and we continue to believe that the light-touch regulatory approach in place for the past two decades has been central to the Internet’s success. Reclassification under Title II, which for the first time would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open Internet, competition and innovation.”

Statement by Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) executive vice president, David Cohen:

“To attempt to impose a full-blown Title II regime now, when the classification of cable broadband has always been as an information service, would reverse nearly a decade of precedent, including findings by the Supreme Court that this classification was proper.  This would be a radical reversal that would harm investment and innovation, as today’s immediate stock market reaction demonstrates.  And such a radical reversal of consistent contrary precedent should be taken up by the Congress.”

Statement by Time Warner Cable’s TWC.N chairman and chief executive, Rob Marcus:

“Regulating broadband service under Title II, as the president proposes, will create unnecessary uncertainty, lead to years of litigation and threaten the continued growth and development of the Internet. The FCC has sufficient tools without reclassifying broadband to protect the openness of the Internet, while at the same time encouraging continued investment and innovation in the Internet ecosystem.”

Statement by Charter Communications (CHTR.O):

“Efforts to reclassify broadband ignore the fact that the current rules have encouraged billions of dollars of investment in our broadband infrastructure and Americans’ access to open, fast, and reliable service has never been greater. Applying 1930’s-era, rotary telephone legislation to a 21st century computer technology comes with significant risks to consumers. It is a solution in search of a problem and threatens to undermine continued investment to improve and expand our nation’s broadband infrastructure.”

Statement by Chad Dickerson, chief executive of Etsy Inc, an online marketplace that focuses on handmade and vintage items:

“I’m thrilled to see President Obama stand with Etsy and our sellers in calling for strong net neutrality rules under Title II. The president has proved that he truly is a champion of the Internet. I urge (FCC) Chairman Wheeler to follow suit.”

Statement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The growth of the Internet and the rapid adoption of mobile technology have been great American success stories, made possible by a light regulatory touch. This approach has freed innovators to develop and sell the products people want - and create jobs in the process - without waiting around for government permission. The president’s decision today to abandon this successful approach in favor of more heavy-handed regulation that will stifle innovation and concentrate more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats is a terrible idea. The commission would be wise to reject it.”

Statement by Democratic Representative Henry Waxman from California:

“The president is showing true leadership.  He has given strong, unequivocal support for robust open Internet protections.  And he has made it clear that he stands with consumers and the public, not the cable and phone companies that could profit by turning the Internet into slow and fast lanes.

Statement by Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas:

“The biggest regulatory threat to the Internet is net neutrality. In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities, and higher prices for consumers. The Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”

Statement by John Thune, Republican senator from South Dakota:

“The president’s stale thinking would invite legal and marketplace uncertainty and perpetuate what has needlessly become a politically corrosive policy debate.

It is critical that the Internet remain open and that consumers are protected. As it crafts new rules, the FCC should recognize the benefits of its highly successful light-touch regulatory approach to Internet policy and, most importantly, the FCC must follow the law.”

Statement by the Internet Association, a lobbying group that represents Web companies such as Google Inc (GOOGL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Inc (AMZN.O) and Netflix Inc (NFLX.O):

“The Internet Association applauds President Obama’s proposal for the adoption of meaningful net neutrality rules that apply to both mobile and fixed broadband. As we have previously said, the FCC must adopt strong, legally sustainable rules that prevent paid prioritization and protect an open Internet for users.”

Statement by the Center For Democracy & Technology, a public interest group:

“The president has made it clear that he believes the Internet is an essential service and that the prosperity of our country depends on an open Internet. We fully agree.”

Statement by Mobile Future, an advocacy group that supports investment in the wireless sector:

“To reduce the Internet to the status of an analog-era, government-controlled public utility, which is precisely what the president’s plan will do - will put not only the Internet, but also consumers, and our innovation ecosystem at grave risk.  And it will send a clear message to governments around the world that it is now open season to apply their own more burdensome rules and restrictive controls over the global Internet.”

Reporting by Marina Lopes; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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