Comments roll in as FCC starts the broadband regulation ball rolling

The FCC has made official what everyone already knew: It wants to know how much regulation--if any--it should impose on the Internet and how far it can push before it's legally pushed back.

In a 3-2 vote, the commission has opened up public comment on three options to regulate broadband.

The most highly publicized option, of course, is the "third way" proposal by Chairman Julius Genachowski that would, he has claimed, apply a light regulatory touch to a currently unregulated service by applying some of the provisions of Title II regulation.

Also as expected, everyone with an opinion offered it up as quickly as the commission doors opened. The NCTA, in carefully couched bit of literature delivered to FierceCable, said that it sees "little benefit to changing course and great danger in attempting to shoehorn modern broadband services into a Depression-era regulatory regime."

More to the point, Verizon issued its own statement saying that the reclassification of the Internet as a telecom service "is a terrible idea. It is difficult to understand why the FCC continues to consider this issue."

Others issuing hurried statements included the TIA, which hedged its bets a bit before asking the FCC to keep an "open mind" in the matter and Comcast, whose executive vice president David Cohen told Multichannel News that the MSO is still concerned about "unjustified regulation" but was "encouraged that (Genachowski's) careful balancing ... has  led to a rational next step."

Besides the "third way" option, the FCC is also considering the less notable ideas of leaving broadband as a Title I service and seeing what other provisions can be mined from the Telecommunications Act to enhance FCC authority or to completely reclassify broadband traffic as a fully regulated Title II telecom service.

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