Michael Powell, ceo of the NCTA, and former Federal Communications Commission chairman, represents one of the plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against the FCC’s open internet order. Why the NCTA is opposed to Title II as a regulatory framework for the Internet is the centerpiece of his interview with Multichannel News Washington bureau chief John Eggerton.
It is a disaster because the Federal Communications Commission is fundamentally, if not violently, rewriting the national policy of the United States without congressional direction.
Congress in 1996 knew what the Internet was when it passed the 1996 Telecom Act. It full well knew it, because it defined it in the statute and it defined two different regulatory approaches. And they intended as a national policy that dynamic, information-oriented services like the Internet would not be regulated under a regime that was developed and reserved for a world in which you had a very straightforward telephone system with a single national company being managed by a federal judge as the result of an antitrust divestiture and needed to be managed to competition in a way that was due to its unique history.
Powell will be on stage tomorrow taking about the case as he opens the NCTA’s annual convention in Chicago. No longer called The Cable Show, it’s now known as The INTX: The Internet & Television Expo, reflecting the shift in the cable business from just providing video services to being Internet service providers. Comcast, for example, has just as many broadband subscribers than video subscribers.