taxcredits.net via flickr
Think you hate your Internet service provider now? Pretty much all the top ISPs in the country just told the Federal Communications Commission that if they face extra regulation, they will stop investing as much as they do today in network upgrades, and they will have to stop being so innovative.The threat came today in a letter signed by the chief executives of AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, 15 other companies, and industry groups such as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the CTIA Wireless Association.
The companies warned the FCC not to classify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would open Internet service up to stricter “common carrier” rules under Title II of the Communications Act. The US has long applied common carrier status to the telephone network, providing justification for universal service obligations that guarantee affordable phone service to all Americans and other rules that promote competition and consumer choice.
Consumer advocates say common carrier status is needed for the FCC to impose strong network neutrality rules on Internet service providers. Such rules would force ISPs to treat all third-party Web services equally, not degrading competing services or speeding up Web services in exchange for payment.
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