Saturday, May 08, 2010

FCC Choses To Classify Broadband Internet Access Service As A Title II telecommunications service In The Light Of Comcast v. FCC

Regulating Broadband
After the U.S. Circuit Court's ruling in Comcast v. FCC — which all of us thought would be a major setback for the FCC, seem to go in a direction Good or Bad depending on which camp you are on. FCC has opted for reclassifying the transmission component of broadband Internet access service as a Title II telecommunications service.
Customers generally stand to gain as it takes away capability of service providers like Comcast deciding which content will flow through their pipes. Content providers like YouTube, video service will be rest assured that the content will reach the intended audience. There are subtle annoyances on either selection but I feel the need to side with Chairman Genachowski's proposed legal approach to broadband regulation.
The FCC Chairman has reiterated the need for going forward with the Broadband Policy Agenda;

· Extending broadband communications to all Americans, in rural and urban America and in between, by transforming the $9 billion Universal Service Fund from supporting legacy telephone service to supporting broadband communications service;
· Protecting consumers and promoting healthy competition by, for example, providing greater transparency regarding the speeds, services, and prices consumers receive, and ensuring that
consumers—individuals as well as small businesses—are treated honestly and fairly;
· Empowering consumers to take control of their personal information so that they can use broadband communications without unknowingly sacrificing their privacy;
· Lowering the costs of investment—for example, through smart policies relating to rights-of way—in order to accelerate and extend broadband deployment;
· Advancing the critical goals of protecting Americans against cyber-attacks, extending 911 coverage to broadband communications, and otherwise protecting the public’s safety; and
· Working to preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet through high-level rules of the road to safeguard consumers’ right to connect with whomever they want; speak freely online; access the lawful products and services of their choice; and safeguard the Internet’s boundless promise as a platform for innovation and communication to improve our education and health care, and help deliver a clean energy future.
If you read the paper you will also hear that after the  Comcast v. FCC it is difficult to maintain and protect consumers in an "anciliary" role that FCC have been taking.
The Commission’s General Counsel and many other lawyers believe that the Comcast decision reduces sharply the Commission’s ability to protect consumers and promote competition using its “ancillary” authority, and creates serious uncertainty about the Commission’s ability, under this approach, to perform the basic oversight functions, and pursue the basic broadband-related policies, that have been long and widely thought essential and appropriate.
Please read the paper in it's entirerity before making any conclusions as at first glance it might not be very clear the reasons for this decision. The FCC will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on this approach. So be ready.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin