A tireless advocate for independent cable operators, Lieberman feels especially relieved by the FCC’s reversal of Title II classification for broadcast providers. “For broadband service providers, it has significant long term implications for their decisions to invest in their networks and to offer innovative services. This is especially true for small cable operators,” he says. Lieberman’s role at ACA has him advising member companies on a myriad of issues, including the Connect America Fund Phase II auction and implications from the ATSC 3.0 broadcasting standard. Lieberman says that representing small cable operators makes him identify with Ant-Man. “Heroes don’t get any bigger,” he says.
What have been the most important legal issues in communications for you in the past year?
One legal issue tops the list: it’s the proper classification of the provision of broadband internet access service under the Communications Act. At its core, the FCC has broad authority to regulate Title II telecommunications service and limited authority regarding Title I information service, and so whether broadband service is properly considered one or the other has meaningful consequences. For broadband service providers, it has significant long term implications for their decisions to invest in their networks and to offer innovative services. This is especially true for small cable operators. The issue also has important relevance to the regulation of net neutrality, which is a related issue that garners significant public attention. I was very pleased for my members that the current FCC reversed the classification decision of the last FCC, finding broadband Internet access service is an information service, and did so with solid legal and economic reasoning.
How is today’s political environment impacting your job and the industry?
For many decades the political environment has had limited impact on the resolution of most communications issues. As a rule, communications policy actions tend not to be “right” or “left” issues. The open internet debate may be the exception.
My net neutrality prediction is …
Without Title II and net neutrality rules in 2018, consumer access to lawful content won’t materially change from 2017.
What movie superhero would you most like to be and how would that character fit into the legal world of communications?
As a representative for small cable operators, I’d choose Ant-man. Heroes don’t get any bigger.