Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in the appeal of the FCC’s Open Internet Order in which several petitioners challenged the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband under Title II utility-style regulations. The rules, adopted by the Commission earlier this year, put at risk the ability of mobile broadband providers to provide the best quality of service to consumers, particularly harming the increasing number of mobile users who depend on wireless connectivity as a main on-ramp to the Internet.
We heard lots of opposing views today in court. But there was one clear area of agreement – government regulators and industry innovators alike want to keep the mobile future bright for U.S. consumers.
The question is what is the best way to accomplish this? There is a huge and growing appetite for mobile services like video streaming and the myriad of products that make up the growing Internet of Things. But classifying our dynamic, ever-changing wireless world as just another clunky and creaky public utility just does not make sense legally, technically, or economically, and it doesn’t fit the needs of our world-leading mobile marketplace. It is government overreach – and under-think – at its clumsiest.
With judicial and regulatory uncertainty plaguing our competitive wireless market, it is mobile users and innovators who are caught in the crosshairs.
There are better, wiser, and more common sense choices before us, and we must pursue them, together. We need policies – and laws – that are just as smart as our mobile phones, the networks they rely on, and the consumers who use them.
It’s time for Congress to step in to fix this issue by setting clear guidelines on the FCC’s authority if we are to continue to have the world class mobile services, content, networks, and choice we now enjoy and we all deserve.