The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) respectfully submits these comments in response to the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding proposed changes in the legal classification of broadband internet access services (BIAS), other changes to the legal landscape for BIAS providers, and the scope of the Commission’s own authority. CDT is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation, and freedom online – a mission that aligns closely with the Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order.
CDT opposes reclassifying broadband internet access service (BIAS) as an information service and feels that it should retain its current classification as a telecommunications service. Classification of BIAS as a telecommunications service provides the best fit with the text of the statute and preserves Title II of the Communications Act as the Commission’s strongest source of authority to regulate the practices of ISPs. Moreover, the NPRM fails to justify the abrupt policy reversal it proposes. Instead, the NPRM attempts to base its proposals upon arguments that mistake correlation for causation, conflate access with capability, and put the interests of ISPs ahead of consumers’ interests. In this comment, we will document how the NPRM fails to show any meaningful link between classification of BIAS as a telecommunications service and declines in network improvements, how the NPRM misinterprets and misapplies the statutory definitions, and how the NPRM’s policy approach benefits the industry at the expense of consumers. CDT strongly urges the Commission to reconsider its proposals and offers these comments in response to the NPRM.