The NCTA, one of the top industry groups in the cable and telecom world, recently published a survey indicated that roughly 53-percent of those surveyed support the kind of "light touch" internet regulation that FCC chairman Ajit Pai is espousing. 12-percent of respondents, meanwhile, favored full government control of the telecom world, while 25-percent wanted the government completely out of the industry, and 10-percent didn't have an opinion on the matter. Another question in the survey, asked how much protection from telecom companies consumers should have in general, with no mention of the government. This time around, a grand total of 61-percent of respondents supported some form of regulation surrounding Net Neutrality, the notion that companies should not be allowed to exert any kind of control over the quality, serving speed, or types of content that customers see on their networks. 18-percent of respondents were against such rules.
The NCTA's survey went a bit further, and asked consumers a few other questions. On the issue of whether regulating internet providers as utilities would decrease innovation, 43-percent of respondents agreed with Pai, while 21-percent stood in support of the current regulatory framework, asserting that a heavy-handed regulatory approach would not have heavy consequences in the industry. 40-percent believe that such regulation would cause a decline in private sector telecom investment, while 20-percent opposed that notion, and 20-percent said that things would stay about the same. 51-percent of respondents said that they opposed telecoms being regulated as utilities, while 33-percent felt conversely. When the NCTA broke the survey questions out across political party lines, the results were mostly unchanged, with the only major anomaly being less confessed democrats than any other party, by a fairly decent margin, opposing the treatment of ISPs are utility companies. It's worth noting that 39-percent of respondents hadn't even heard of Net Neutrality before.
This survey comes as Pai works to push through a reform that will dismantle the Title II Net Neutrality regulations that have classified ISPs as utilities since 2015. While Net Neutrality rules technically exist beyond that framework, without the FCC involvement that Title II allows, the rules seem to become a bit more difficult to enforce; Verizon, for instance, fought the rules at first, saying that the rules had no enforcing party behind them in their initial form. This, among other similar episodes, led to the introduction of Title II regulation, which some, including Pai, consider to be excessive for the regulatory needs of the industry.