Cisco, Intel, IBM Anti-Net Neutrality

Reclassifying the Internet as a utility-like service to ensure Net neutrality would "lead to a slowdown, if not a hold, in broadband build out," according to a Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) letter sent Wednesday to policymakers in Washington, D.C. Among the 60 TIA member organizations signing the letter were Cisco, IBM and Intel.

If the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassifies Internet service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, technology companies developing broadband across the country might reduce their spending by up to $45.5 billion over the next five years because, "if you don't know that you can recover on your investment, you won't make it," according to the letter.

That warning echoes comments made last month by AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson that FCC reclassification would lead his company to put a hold on its high-speed fiber rollout to 100 cities across the U.S.

Proponents of reclassification -- which include the White House, the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumers Union, Etsy, Foursquare, and a number of other organizations -- have come out against any change in FCC regulations that could enable service providers to offer "fast-lane" Internet service for a premium price. They claim such a change would create a two-tier Internet in which most people would be stuck with slow service and tech startups would be unable to compete with larger, deep-pocketed enterprises.

A 'Significant Threat' to Tech Companies

The FCC has fielded more than 4 million comments -- a record -- on the issue of Net neutrality, with a large proportion of those commenters coming out in support of the reclassification. President Barack Obama also weighed in on the topic last month, saying, "I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting Net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the...

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