Consumer Federation of America Applauds the FCC for Advancing Open Internet Rules
Washington, D.C. (May 15, 2014)– The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) applauds today’s action by the Federal Communications Commission to move forward on Open Internet Rules that comply with the recent ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The following statement can be attributed to Dr. Mark Cooper, Director of Research at CFA.
The FCC needs to look to the future, not the past, to develop a framework that ensures nondiscriminatory access to broadband communications and preserves the dynamic, flexibility that has been the hallmark of the Internet. The Commission’s action today are in line with the overall process we outlined in comments in this proceeding (http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/CFC-Inital-Comment-in-the-Open-Internet-Remand-Docket.pdf):
- The FCC should assert the independent authority and explore the powers it has under several of the key, new Sections of the ’96 Act to create a robust portfolio of tools to pursue the core goals of the Communications Act
- Maximize the power of transparency under Section 706 to promote competition and provide consumer protection.
- Develop regulation of reasonable network management to the greatest extent possible under § 706.
- Implement effective universal service mechanisms under § 254.
- Explore Title II with forbearance (§ 10) for those goals of the Act that cannot be accomplished under the authorities and powers of § 706 and § 254, particularly for public safety, consumer protection, consumers with disabilities and privacy.
The enhanced transparency and clearly articulated principles for evaluating the effect of service offerings on consumers, competition, and innovation provide key building blocks of the more flexible, participatory and collaborative regulatory model that we believe digital communications need to flourish. The ultimate goal is to build new institutions that utilize the immense communications capacity of the digital age to enforce simple rules against discrimination without having the FCC dictate day-to-day management of the network (a goal we outlined in our comments on the transition to an all Internet Protocol network, http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/CFA-Comment-in-the-Technology-Transition-Docket.pdf).
The Mozilla petition moves toward this goal because it identifies new relationships between communications service providers and information service providers, who build private communications infrastructure or provide important communications functions in the network of networks. Ensuring interconnection and interoperability would provide strong incentives to deploy these facilities and services, furthering the primary goal of the 1996 Telecommunications Act: “to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced telecommunications and information technologies and services to all Americans by opening all telecommunications markets to competition.
The Consumer Federation of America is an association of more than 260 non-profit consumer groups that, since 1968, has sought to advance the consumer interest through research, education, and advocacy.