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Google filing urges FCC to consider reclassification

Today, I began looking into the thousands of pages of comments on net neutrality filed to the FCC. And in its filing, Google provides more clarity into its thinking on the FCC's authority to regulate broadband providers.

To the general public, Google appeared Monday to stay on the sidelines of a heated debate over the Federal Communications Commission’s authority over broadband services. In a blog, media counsel Rick Whitt said the company was more focused on net neutrality rules than taking a position on whether the agency should reclassify broadband services. A federal appeals court decision in March put the FCC’s authority in jeopardy.

But tucked in a 65-page filing on the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules, Google appeared to take a stronger stance. The search giant suggested that the agency consider reclassifying broadband as a Title II common carrier service.

“It would be unwise for the Commission simply to continue relying solely or primarily on its Title I authority to adopt the proposed broadband openness rules,” Google wrote in its comments. “Instead, the FCC should consider a number of options, including pursuing a decision grounded in whole or in part on its unquestioned authority under existing statutory titles, including Title II.”

That the company is considering a move of broadband from Title I to Title II is “especially important” because carriers have threatened lengthy court battles over any broadband regulations. Google said in considering a reclassification that it should be done for wired and wireless services.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 28, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
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...and on whose filing does Cecilia Kang report first? The one from her sponsor, Google, which places ads in her blog and thus helps fund her paycheck. Hmmm. She then quotes Google's lobbyists and lawyers without any opposing viewpoints. She also repeats Google lobbyists' falsehoods: the recent court decision didn't put the FCC's authority "in jeoopardy;" it delineated its existing boundaries. Nor is the FCC's Title II authority over broadband "unquestioned" -- it was questioned, in fact, in many filings, most pointedly in those of Verizon and CTIA. But Ms. Kang, who claims to be studying the filings, does not mention this.

The Post needs unbiased and ethical journalists. Is it any wonder that Ms. Kang is known as "Google's reporter at the Post?"

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 28, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

From what I've read, the FCC is the one that determines whether broadband should fall under Title I or Title II authority. While affected corporations might question their classification status, it remains the purview of the FCC to make these classifications.

Posted by: waltski | April 28, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to regulatory nuclear winter. Next up, 'search-neutrality' regulations.

Posted by: millionea81 | April 28, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"While affected corporations might question their classification status, it remains the purview of the FCC to make these classifications."

...and a judge's purview to explain the difference between Title I & II to the FCC in court.

Posted by: millionea81 | April 28, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

That's what the courts are for - anyone can bring case against anyone for supposed harm, damage or redress. However, the judge in this case didn't rule that the FCC doesn't have any authority over broadband regulation, simply that the FCC was incorrect in trying to regulate under the ancillary provisions of Title I. To determine regulatory authority we may need a different judicial ruling, or perhaps Congress might clarify broadband access for the FCC by passing a Net Nuetrality bill. At this point, it seems a bit murky as what should be classified as "network management processes" and its relation to net neutrality - both Google and Verison seem to have different opinions on what that should be.

Posted by: waltski | April 28, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

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