Says Regulation Disproportionately Harms Small Entities
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, March 21, 2019 — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said today that since eliminating regulation of Internet service providers (ISPs) in December 2017, broadband speeds are up over 35 percent and infrastructure investment has increased, praising the investment of smaller broadband providers that are doing their part to help close the digital divide.
Pai, speaking at the ACA Connects’ Washington, D.C., policy summit, said that “millions more Americans are benefitting from fiber than ever before,” again noting the efforts of ACA members in smaller towns and rural areas to make “the promise of digital opportunity a real one.”
Pai made his comments during a “fireside chat” with ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka before hundreds of attendees at ACA Connects Summit26. Click here to listen to Pai’s full remarks.
Regarding the end of Title II regulation for ISPs, Pai noted that predictions such as: “This is the end of Internet as we know it; We will have to pay $5 per Tweet; The…Internet…will…work…one…word…at…a…time” have all proven false. “Some of those hysterical predictions are looking increasingly silly,” he added.
These positive results illustrate that the “bipartisan framework that we’ve had for two decades, starting with the Clinton Administration, and continuing for almost 20 years – the one that we restored in 2017 – has been the right one for America’s consumers,” Pai observed.
ACA’s Polka noted the irony: “I’ve always found it interesting how people will freely use the Internet to criticize how they can’t freely use the Internet,” Polka joked.
Pai concurred. “At college campuses this inevitable comes up. I tell them, Look, you can still hate tweet your favorite FCC chairman without any kind of impediment.”
As Pai continues in a second term as FCC Chairman, he told ACA members that he will maintain efforts to close the digital divide and modernize regulations.
In addition to efforts already executed such as ending Title II regulation of ISPs, facilitating pole attachments, expediting access to public rights of way at reasonable costs, and opening large blocks of spectrum, Pai expects the FCC to eliminate the requirement that hard copies of channel lineups be kept onsite, as well as study leased access reform, electronic delivery of communications, and the scope of local franchising authority.
He noted that regulation has a disproportionate effect on smaller businesses.
“Big corporations always have fleets of lawyers, accountants, and compliance officers to throw at a problem. It’s the smaller companies who are often the ones who bear the brunt. They are the ones who are the canaries in the coal mines, in terms of investment that has to be diverted… to manage compliance requirements,” Pai noted.
“If we get it right, then all of you can do what you do best, which is to connect Americans with opportunity,” Pai said.
The ACA Summit is a special event where small and mid-sized broadband, phone and video operators serving hometown America connect with the leading lawmakers and regulators as well as media representatives on the communications policy beat in Washington, D.C.
This year’s Summit is ACA’s 26th annual “fly-in” to Washington with its members. ACA’s more than 700 independent operators play a unique role in providing best-in-class communications services to millions of consumers, many living and working in rural areas of the country.
Created in the early 1990s, the ACA Summit gives independent communications providers a vehicle for framing the diverse and complex issues in their own words during dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill and with regulators at the FCC.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://www.americancable.org/