As reactions continue to mount following the FCC's landmark vote Thursday to codify regulation of Internet service providers as utilities, the anti-merger group Don't Comcast the Internet says the ruling is a step in the right direction. Still, it won't completely protect the public if the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is approved.
"The rules approved by the FCC today are an important step toward maintaining an open, competitive Internet, however this action alone will not prevent the many harms to consumers and competitors if Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) are permitted to merge," reads a statement released Thursday afternoon by the anti-merger tech coalition Don't Comcast the Internet.
The group adds, "The merger would give Comcast far too much control over our nation's video and broadband markets and more power and incentive to harm competition and choice in a range of ways that are not restricted by the Open Internet rules, including limiting competitors' ability to access must-have programming, curbing innovation and choice in the set top box marketplace, and raising barriers to entry that prevent other providers from entering new markets and competing with Comcast."
The American Cable Association, meanwhile, continued to hammer home its point that the net neutrality rules would unfairly harm small- to mid-sized ISPs.
"FCC actions are supposed to be based on data, not conjecture," the ACA said. "Yet, in adopting the Open Internet Order today, the FCC ignores uncontested data in the record demonstrating that imposing Title II regulation on small and mid-sized ISPs beyond the three 'bright line' net neutrality rules will impose burdens without benefit to an open Internet. As a result of this 'unreasoned' action, the FCC inflicts upon small and mid-sized ISPs unwarranted and irreparably harmful common carrier rules that have nothing to do with ensuring net neutrality.
Added the Consumer Electronics Association:
"Today's vote by the FCC reclassifying broadband as a Title II public utility service takes us in the wrong direction on the information superhighway. CEA supports a light regulatory regime that strikes the appropriate balance among fostering innovation, promoting competition and maintaining broad access to and across the Internet. With this vote, the commission has instead placed regulatory shackles and new legal risks on the Internet and those who use this technological marvel to create critical new services, products and jobs. The end result for consumers: less choice, higher costs and reduced innovation."
- read this American Cable Association press release
- read this Consumer Electronics Association press release
Special Report: Net neutrality for wireless and wireline carriers
Comcast, Cablevision, Charter execs have mixed reactions to net neutrality vote
Comcast, TWC and Charter downgraded to neutral on analyst concerns over Title II, cord cutting
Charter's Rutledge: Title II a 'heavy handed regulatory solution for problem that doesn't exist'
Comcast misses Q4 forecasts, gains only 6K video subs