What some MN broadband providers are saying about the Net Neutrality repeal

Two Minnesota companies sent comments into the FCC in the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom (aka Net Neutrality repeal) through their membership in American Cable Association (Velocity Telephone, Inc./Gigabit Minnesota and Sjoberg Cable). Here are their views on the impact of Net Neutrality to their business.

Jim Hickle with Velocity declared…

The economics of our business were harmed at the FCC’s Title II decision. Velocity competes with incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) CenturyLink and Frontier, as well as cable companies Comcast and Charter. As a company, we work to expand broadband to unserved communities. We see our role as a disruptive factor to ILECs and Cablecos in the market and believe that building fiber to provide high speed Internet access service builds a market, attracting a competitive response. Although we would like to continue to expand our fiber, the costs and burdens of compliance following the FCC’s decision in its 2015 Open Internet Order to reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II telecommunications service have negatively affected our fiber plans. Title II reclassification has increased our regulatory compliance expenditures, had a direct and adverse impact on our ability to finance improvements and invest in our plant, and has decreased our incentive and ability to innovate.

The major impact of the Title II reclassification and the uncertainty regarding what it would mean for us has been increased costs, as we have spent additional time and money to understand the new regulatory obligations.

Dick Sjoberg with Sjoberg’s declared…

Uncertainty as to what Title II reclassification would mean for us has increased our costs related to regulatory compliance and consulting fees, harming the economics of our business. None of the services we offer had ever been classified as common carrier service by the FCC or our state public utility commission prior to the FCC’s reclassification decision. Up until that time, we had zero experience with either the key statutory Title II obligations that require the offering of our service in a just, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner, nor did we have experience with the FCC’s rules and decisions implementing these requirements. The Title II decision and the Internet General Conduct standard opened the door to a host of burdensome new regulatory requirement at both the federal and state levels, dramatically raising the level of regulatory requirements facing our company. In particular, the potential for rate regulation in the future remains, even if the FCC has not chosen to impose ex ante rate thus far. The decision and the uncertainty it engendered increased our regulatory compliance expenditure, had a direct and adverse impact on our ability to finance improvements and invest in our plant, and decreased our ability to innovate and offer customer new features an services.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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