FCC broadband reclassification no slam dunk

Those who think that the FCC is going to ram through a reclassification of broadband as some "third way" method of regulated telecommunications service haven't been paying attention to the divide within the Commission. Commissioners, out on the road and making their views known, made it clear that reregulation is not a sure bet.

"There are two paths forward for the commission: stay on the bipartisan regulatory road that has brought us high-paying jobs and billions of dollars of investment or use the most intrusive one-wire tool in the commission's toolbox to regulate the Internet," said FCC Commissioner Meredith Altwell Baker, who spoke to the Broadband Policy Summit IV. Baker's opinion is that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed "third way" to lightly regulate broad is not the right way to go.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps disagrees. He told a gathering at Stanford Law School that the commission must "get back on course by treating Internet access services--the gateways to the Internet--as the telecommunications service they are, subject to the most basic of nondiscrimination and transparency safeguards."

Both commissioners acknowledged that the courts have made things a little more difficult by siding with Comcast and against the FCC in a net neutrality case where Comcast was taken to task for throttling bandwidth to what it alleged were network abusers.

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