Cedar Falls Muni Provider Concerned about Title II

English: Cotton Theater located at 103 Main St...

English: Cotton Theater located at 103 Main Street in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, Iowa is on the National Register of Historic Places (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Iowa-based municipal broadband provider that President Obama praised during a mid-January visit is worried that Title II regulation could hurt its finances and impede its ability to expand services for customers.

In mid-January, President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to tout the Internet services provided by Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU), as a model for how a publicly run broadband network should be operated. But in a recent filingwith the Federal Communications Commission, CFU joined USTelecom member Shenandoah Telecommunications Company and members of the American Cable Association (ACA) to highlight why reclassifying broadband services under Title II might harm small and medium sized internet service providers.

The ACA’s filing, which provoked press interest from the National Journal, POLITICOPro and Multichannel News, noted that small and medium broadband service providers do not have an incentive to harm Internet openness. In the filing, the small and medium sized ISPS said they lacked the ability to provide “fast lanes” even if they wanted to, noting that only the nation’s biggest ISPs have those capabilities. Additionally, when it came to accessing Web content, consumer expectations deterred them from blocking content or throttling service. The filing also pointed out that the ISPs have not received complaints about the level of their current open Internet disclosures.

The ACA’s filing also noted that rather than trying to block services from edge providers like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu on their networks, some its members were virtually begging the companies to offer access to its services to their customers.

CFU’s marketing manager Betty Zeman said the municipal broadband provider had to “beat down the door” to get Netflix to pay attention when the network started offering 2 gigabit speeds to its customers, according to the filing. And in Tennessee, the Jackson Energy Authority (JEA) a public utility that runs a 2 gigabit network, is still unsuccessfully trying to negotiate for a Netflix application for its set-top boxes.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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