Major tech companies sent a letter addressed to the FCC and Congress today in opposition to President Obama’s stance on Net Neutrality. The letter, sent by the Technology Industry Association (TIA), was signed by more than 60 companies including Cisco, dLink, IBM, and Intel. Outlining a trickle-down effect that would ultimately lead to stifling technological investments, the scope of the letter is that reclassification under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is a bad thing. It also serves as a line in the sand, as other tech companies like Netflix or Amazon support reclassification.
This letter, which claims not to be “idle speculation or fear mongering”, also gently threatens that investments would come to a standstill should reclassification take place. “If you don’t know that you can recover on your investment, you won’t make it” it says, echoing reasons given by AT&T regarding their recent move to slow fiber rollout.
AT&T is not a member of the TIA.
Though not fear mongering or speculative, the letter also relies on analyst opinion in saying “One study estimates that capital investment by certain broadband providers could be between $28.1 and $45.4 billion lower than expected over the next five years if wireline broadband reclassification occurs”.
The letter goes on to say “If even half of the ISPs decide to pull back investment to this degree, the impact on the tech equipment sector will be immediate and severe, and the impact would be even greater if wireless broadband is reclassified. The investment shortfall would then flow downstream, landing first and squarely on technology companies like ours, and then working its way through the economy overall. Just a few years removed from the worst recession in memory, that’s a risk no policymaker should accept, let alone promote.”
Again, this is not speculative or fear mongering.
The FCC is taking a pragmatic approach to Net Neutrality, and letters like this prove why. As other companies and entities like Google and Facebook support reclassification, there will naturally be those that oppose it. Both sides deserve to be heard, and the companies behind this letter are simply supporting their interests.
Are they supporting yours, though? They seem to think so. Their sign-off begins with “On behalf of all Americans who depend upon the broadband Internet that has flourished under the current approach” before urging the FCC — which does not report to Congress — to move against reclassification.
The FCC plans to make a ruling on Title II reclassification next year.