December 21, 2010 - NTCA CEO Responds to Net Neutrality Order

NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield issued the following statement in response to today's FCC net neutrality order:

"Although we await the precise details of today's historic net neutrality decision and will be keeping an eye on its potential impacts on network operations, we are pleased that the FCC appears to have recognized that Internet access providers require flexibility to reasonably manage their own networks. Such flexibility is particularly important for small rural providers who have an even more pronounced need for reasonable network management and the ability to offer Internet access services that satisfy specific consumer demands and expectations.

"We find it telling that the FCC has apparently imposed a lesser standard of regulation on mobile wireless networks. If nothing else, this decision confirms that mobile wireless networks are more properly viewed as a complement to-and not a substitute for-a robust wireline network. This disparity in treatment underscores the fundamental role that wireline networks play in ensuring that adequate capacity is available to serve consumers and enable cutting-edge applications. In short, wireless needs wires.

"We hope that the FCC will now turn back to the important goal of ensuring that the broadband networks needed to support Internet access will become-and remain-available, affordable and of comparable speed and quality in rural America. We also urge the FCC to consider steps to address related concerns, such as discrimination and other terms imposed by content providers, which can have the effect of limiting consumer choice and artificially increasing the costs of providing Internet access.

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The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.Contact NTCA at 703-351-2037