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FCC Chairman Pai Responds to Letter from Municipal Broadband Providers in Support of Title II Reversal

Nineteen municipal broadband providers that support FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to reverse the classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II sent him a letter on Thursday, which Pai is calling an “exceptionally important contribution to the debate.”

“These nonprofit ISPs serve small towns across America, from Bagley, Minn., to Tullahoma, Tenn. They told us that the FCC’s heavy-handed rules have led them to ‘often delay or hold off from rolling out a new feature or service,'” Pai says in a statement released Friday. “As a result, their customers lose out on having access to innovation and new capabilities.”

The chairman also points out that the muni broadband providers told him in their letter the rules are so complex they have to retain attorneys and consultants to provide advice on compliance. They further suggest that Pai’s proposal could cut regulatory compliance costs, and therefore they could invest more in their networks.

“The fact that ISPs lacking any profit motive agree that eliminating Title II regulation will benefit consumers and promote innovation and investment is a powerful endorsement of reversing the FCC’s 2015 Title II Order,” Pai concludes. American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka also issued a statement on Friday about the municipal ISPs’ letter to the FCC, which he said underlines why the regulations need to be scrapped.

“These municipal ISPs – some of whom serve just a few hundred subscribers – explain that the previous FCC’s decision was based on faulty assumptions and has proven costly for them and their communities.” Polka notes. “So, Chairman Pai’s effort to undo the current open internet regulations and restore light-touch regulation of ISPs while maintaining an open internet is not only justified but necessary to encourage the level of investment required to ensure that the internet economy is an engine of growth and innovation.”

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