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  1. TED BUDD
  2. 13TH DISTRICT, NORTH CAROLINA   Congress of the United States // House of Representatives // Washington, DC 20515      
  3.  
  4. COMMITTEE ON
  5. FINANCIAL SERVICES
  6.  
  7. SUBCOMMITTEES
  8.  
  9. Housing and Insurance
  10.  
  11. Terrorism and Illicit Finance
  12.  
  13. Capital Markets, Securities
  14. And Investments
  15. December 14, 2017
  16.  
  17.  
  18. Mr.  
  19.  
  20. Dear Mr. :
  21.  
  22. Thank you for taking the time to contact my office on the issue for net neutrality. I appreciate you reaching out on this front.
  23.  
  24. I agree with your larger principle, that the internet should remain open and accessible for individuals and businesses alike. Just like railroads revolutionized our economy in the 1800s, most recently, so has the internet, which has helped pave the way for economic and societal change. So, in the simplest form, I agree with you on the importance of access to information by way of the internet. However, let me explain why I might take a different approach to net neutrality.
  25.  
  26. I go back to this notion that if it isn't broken it doesn't need fixing.  Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, broadband providers have been classified under a lighter degree of regulation than telephone companies.  Since that time, we've seen an overwhelming growth in speed, availability and utility of the internet.  Ecommerce, Netflix, YouTube and Facebook as we know it are all due to the fact that connection speeds have increased and prices have fallen.  I understand there are concerns about the behavior of Internet Service Providers such as Comcast, but I also believe that they've done a relatively good job in getting broadband service to a large number of people without significant government spending to do so.  I realize that the invention of the internet occurred partly due to the taxpayer supported ARPANET, but the installation of the internet's infrastructure was mostly paid for by private industry at a cost of more than a quarter trillion dollars.  
  27.  
  28. The other element of this issue which I think is important was the approach that was taken by the Federal Communications Commission to implement net neutrality.  It did not simply institute net neutrality, an approach that has been struck down on a number of occasions by the courts, it also changed the way internet companies were treated.  It would change their legal standing to make them in essence treated as public utilities, in the mold of a telephone company or an energy company.  That's a huge degree of regulation-including what prices a company can and can't charge.  While the Federal Communications Commission  did say that it was not going to enforce certain elements of that classification, I'd offer that doing so creates a significant degree of uncertainty for companies.  It strikes me that if the investment climate for a company can change essentially overnight because of a regulatory decision, then that's not an environment that encourages companies to take risks to improve the network.  That risk-taking is what's allowed the United States to have the significant broadband network that it does without major upfront costs to the taxpayer.
  29.  
  30. Finally, it's also worth noting that many of the concerns about net neutrality are already happening, with only positive effects for the consumer.  In particular, as it regards to concerns about internet companies favoring one type of traffic over another, many large companies with major data needs like Facebook or Netflix already have special agreements with internet providers for dedicated connections.  The result is the consumer having access to the content that he or she wants quickly and reliably.  Ultimately these types of agreements (called "peering" agreements) are the type of arrangement that will be necessary for data demand to meet bandwidth supply. It's been estimated that half of all internet traffic originates with just 30 companies, nearly all of which have peering agreements with internet providers.  
  31.  
  32. I understand this is a hotly contested issue and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this front. It is my hope that this letter shed some light on why I feel as I do on net neutrality. If you ever want to discuss the issue more in depth, my staff are at your disposal.
  33.  
  34. Thanks again for writing and take good care.
  35.  
  36.  
  37.  
  38. Sincerely,
  39. Ted Budd
  40. Ted Budd
  41. Member of Congress
  42. TB/TH
  43.  
  44.  
  45. WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
  46. 118 CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
  47. WASHINGTON, DC 20515
  48. (202) 225-4531
  49.  
  50.  
  51.  
  52.  
  53.  
  54. ADVANCE OFFICE
  55. 128 PEACHTREE LANE-SUITE A
  56. ADVANCE, NC 27006
  57. (336) 998-1313