With only hours remaining in the countdown to tomorrow’s net neutrality vote, everyone from Silicon Valley to Capitol Hill is getting their last words in. At a tech policy event in Washington, DC yesterday, a panel of ISP executives spoke about the future of competition, innovation, and network deployment as the regulations and the marketplace change around them. And when the moderator directly asked the speakers if Title II regulation would diminish investment in their networks, the answer was the same all around: nope.
There were four participants on the panel: Milo Medin, the Google VP who heads up Google Fiber; Dave Schaeffer, the CEO of Cogent; Kurt Van Wagenen, the president and CEO of FirstLight Fiber, a regional provider in the northeast; and Michael Weidman, the president and CEO of LSN, formerly known as LightSpeed Networks, a regional provider in Oregon and Washington.
All four of the executives agreed that they are already busily planning for and investing in the future of their companies, and that reclassification won’t change that. However, the three retail ISP executives (Cogent works a little differently) did explain that the future isn’t all necessarily sunshine and roses.
Medin pointed to the difficulties that already exist for rolling out Google Fiber in more markets. “I think cities don’t understand the amount of power they have, to make things either easier or harder,” he explained. Title II regulation, which Google has not officially made a statement in favor of (or against), would allow Google different kinds of access to utility poles and related infrastructure, which could make their future Fiber deployments a little easier.