A new report says that broadband investment actually rose after net neutrality regulation

Despite what you hear from critics of the current net neutrality rules, when it comes their effect on how much broadband providers are investing in their networks, the sky doesn’t seem to be falling.

That’s the word Monday from Free Press, a consumer advocacy group. In a new report, the group took a look at investments made by the publicly traded broadband companies before and after the Federal Communications Commission put in place its strong net neutrality rules in 2015.

In the two-year period following the new rules, overall investment among those companies was up 5 per cent from the two-year period immediately preceding them, Free Press found. And if you exclude Sprint and AT&T, both of which decreased their investment after completing the build out of their high-speed LTE networks, overall investment would have been up 9 per cent, according to the report.

“If investment is the FCC’s preferred metric, then there’s only one possible conclusion: Net Neutrality and Title II are smashing successes,” Derek Turner, Free Press’ research director, said in a statement. Title II is the section of the federal Communications Act that the FCC controversially used to undergird its net neutrality rules.

Free Press’ finding is important because it addresses one of the key arguments against those rules — that they would stymie investment. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, relying on industry commissioned figures, has argued that investment has actually declined since the new rules took effect.

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