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TIS17: Powell Tells Small Ops Title II Would Be Disaster for Industry—and U.S.

INDIANAPOLIS—Before a crowd of cable faithful, Michael Powell, the head of NCTA–The Internet and Television Association, painted a dystopian world for cable operators and consumers alike if internet service providers are regulated under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

“Using that model would be a disaster for the industry and a disaster for America’s ambitions in the information age,” said Powell, in a passionate response to a question onstage at The Independent Show. “This country will regret it when it looks back a decade…it’ll wonder how it made this mistake.”

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Powell, a former FCC chairman who now represents the nation’s largest cable operators, spoke to a packed room of small and mid-sized cable operators represented by the National Cable Television Cooperative and the American Cable Association.

Each of the groups is lobbying against such rules that disallow blocking or slowing down internet speeds for competitors, now being reconsidered at the FCC, headed by chair Ajit Pai, who is behind a proposal to reverse Title II rules as the best way to ensure net neutrality.

Echoing Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), who spoke a day earlier, Powell said that net neutrality “is a horrible term—it’s sort of meaningless,” and there is mass confusion among consumers over the term.

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