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November 30, 2017

Restoring the Open Internet Means Good News for America’s Wireless Consumers .

    Restoring the Open Internet Means Good News for America’s Wireless Consumers

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    CTIA SVP Scott Bergmann
    Scott Bergmann
    Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

    Have you ever paid a friend with Venmo or PayPal? Hailed a car with Uber or Lyft? Enjoyed a seamless transition from your 4G service to your Wi-Fi network? Noticed your wireless speeds increase 40-fold in the last decade?

    If you’re a mobile consumer, the odds are good that you have, thanks to a vibrantly dynamic wireless market that drives new services all the time.

    The wireless industry brought all those benefits to consumers—and they did so long before the FCC imposed a 1930s statute called Title II two years ago to restrict your wireless experience.

    The FCC is expected to free the internet from this Depression-era law in the coming days and return it to the light-touch regulatory framework that helped spur the world-class mobile networks and apps we enjoy.

    This is great news for America’s wireless consumers, and we commend the FCC leadership, including Chairman Ajit Pai, for their vision and commitment.

    In taking this step, the FCC has recognized the remarkable story of America’s wireless industry under the bipartisan framework that existed for nearly two decades through 2015.

    This story is a quintessentially American one. Operating under a Clinton-era paradigm that continued under Republican and Democratic administrations—namely that the Internet should be “unfettered from Federal or State regulation”—wireless providers invested hundreds of billions to blanket the country with connectivity.

    First, we brought consumers advanced mobile voice service, then a burgeoning mobile broadband experience, and today a high-speed wireless connection so fast that you can watch high-definition video on the go. That’s pretty remarkable.

    Today, 99.7% of the U.S. has access to 4G wireless broadband and 93% of Americans have access to at least three wireless providers. As a result, speeds continue to increase, while prices fall. And tomorrow’s 5G networks promise even more benefits.

    The investment-chilling Title II rules were a radical shift from that bipartisan framework and grounded on the idea that utility-style regulations will increase investment. But the evidence is in, and under the antiquated, monopoly-style rules the FCC adopted in 2015, wireless investment actually fell.

    The FCC’s proposal is critical because it will drive billions of new dollars into mobile broadband networks, boost our economy, and ensure that we continue to lead the world in mobile wireless services.

    Consumers will be the beneficiaries here and will continue to have an open and transparent mobile experience: America’s wireless providers believe in net neutrality and are committed (for instance, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) to delivering an open internet.

    Our members have made these pledges because it’s the right thing to do.  And because it’s good for business.

    Nearly every American relies on wireless today, and nearly every sector of the U.S. economy looks to our platform to innovate in a 21st century global marketplace. These consumers and these industries should be able to use wireless broadband how they choose.

    We look forward to the FCC taking up its proposal next month so our members can get back to doing what they do best—delivering what their consumers want: an open Internet that meets their needs, whatever their needs may be.

     

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