Wheeler: net neutrality rules are not chilling telco network investment

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler maintains that the new net neutrality rules are not causing traditional telcos or cable operators to put a hold on new network investments.

Speaking to lawmakers during the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on "Continued Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission," Wheeler said that service providers are not holding back in expanding the reach of their broadband networks.

The chairman cited statements by the CEOs of T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), Sprint (NYSE: S), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and Frontier that Title II reclassification "does not discourage their investment."

Wheeler added that after even after the rules officially went into effect in June, a number of major telcos and cable operators have made announcements that signal they are moving to bring services to more consumers and businesses in their respective territories.  

"The post-Open Internet Order announcements by AT&T (NYSE: T), Bright House, CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Cincinnati Bell, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cox Cable, TDS Telecom, and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) about their plans to expand their broadband service certainly suggest that healthy network investment will continue under the new rules," Wheeler said.

Wheeler noted he appreciated the court's decision to accelerate their review of the rules and the denial of the request for stay on the net neutrality rules from AT&T, CenturyLink and the US Telecom Associatoin as key accomplishments for the regulator.

"We welcome the accelerated litigation briefing and argument schedule, and we are confident we are on sound legal footing as we move forward," Wheeler said. The Court's decision on the requested stay also gives broadband providers the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks."

For more:
- see this FCC speech transcript

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