Respondents to the FCC’s closely-watched notice of inquiry (NOI) on the management of broadband networks offered divergent views on the need for net neutrality regulation, with local and state government groups lining up on the side of net neutrality proponents and with carriers and industry groups opposing any regulation of broadband networks as unnecessary. Service providers representing wireline, wireless and cable-based platforms, including AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner and Sprint Nextel, were among the hundreds of parties to file comments on the NOI by last Friday’s deadline. AT&T termed the campaign for net neutrality rules as “a profoundly misguided solution in search of a problem,” while Time Warner pointed to “robust” competition in the broadband market in support of its assertion that, “the Internet does not need to be regulated at this time.” Observing that, under current FCC policy, high-speed Internet providers “have had the freedom to experiment with multiple business models, producing more choices and competition in content and providers for consumers,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association advised the FCC that the imposition of any net neutrality obligation on Internet access providers “is not only unnecessary, it would be counterproductive as well.” Along the same vein, the U.S. Telecom Association noted that, in the wake of the FCC’s deregulatory 2005 order that classified wireline broadband services as information services, broadband penetration, competition, service options and investment have all increased, making any regulation of Internet access unnecessary. Asserting, however, that there is not yet a sufficient choice of broadband providers to rely on market forces that would produce pro-consumer industry practices, the New Jersey Division of Rate Council argued that, “regulatory intervention is necessary to prevent the cable-telecommunications duopoly from exerting anticompetitive control over the information that consumers upload and download over the Internet.” As the Center for Democracy & Technology called on the agency to analyze a range of possible industry practices “that could favor or disfavor particular content,” the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates recommended the institution of a net neutrality principle as part of the FCC’s rulemaking process “to strengthen the Commission’s ability to enforce the principle, including the adoption of fines and threat of license withdrawals.”