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.