A month after US President Barack Obama publicly came out in support of net neutrality, asking the FCC to reclassify broadband as a public utility, several of the country's biggest names in technology have come out against the proposal, saying that the move would negatively impact broadband infrastructure investment.
In an open letter to the FCC, Congress, and Senate leaders, over 60 companies including Intel, Qualcomm, IBM, Cisco, Juniper Networks, Ciena, and more, which supply equipment as well as services for telecommunications networks, have said that reclassification of broadband under Title-II would damage network investment, something which would in turn stifle growth across the entire economy.
"Title II would lead to a slowdown, if not a hold, in broadband buildout, because if you don't know that you can recover on your investment, you won't make it," the letter said, warning that broadband reclassification could result in an estimated loss of between $28.1 and $45.4 billion in Internet-related capital investment over the course of next five years.
Hosted by the Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade organization for telecom equipment and services firms, the letter also noted that if even half of the ISPs decide to pull back investment to this degree, it would not only severely impact the tech equipment sector, but would also eventually paralyze the economy.
"Just a few years removed from the worst recession in memory, that’s a risk no policymaker should accept, let alone promote," the letter said.
Last month, AT&T announced that it would pause the rollout of its high-speed fiber network until net neutrality rules are decided, although the company later clarified that the plans related to new commitments, not existing ones.
The news also come just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out in support of creating a two-tier Internet, arguing that that fast lanes are necessary for assuring a "predictable standard of quality," which is key to the development of new, advanced Internet services, like telemedicine, driverless cars, and others.
The FCC is expected to come up with its net neutrality guidelines in 2015.