Three options for the FCC
What next for the Federal Communications Commission?
After a blow from a federal court decision, it seems there are three potential choices, according to a survey of analysts, law professors, telecom lawyers, industry trade groups and consumer groups.
Title II: Classifying broadband as a Title II common carrier service. This seems to be the most likely option, telecom policy insiders say. The process itself isn’t that hard, but the agency would face tough opposition from Internet service providers. The FCC doesn’t need to get public comments or do an inquiry into creating policy out of the idea, analysts say. It would only need three out of the five commissioners to agree to it. Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Mignon Clyburn have already called for the agency to put itself on firmer legal ground. But experts say you can expect industry opponents to push lawmakers to pressure the FCC against such a move, even threatening to pull appropriation.
Rick Joyce, partner and chairman of the communications group at the Venable law firm, said there may be a way to induce carriers to accept this model. “Although this may not be a view that any ISP openly embraces, the FCC could simply change its regulations to allow broadband service providers to ‘voluntarily’ to be regulated as Title II common carriers," he said. "Why should they? The incentive would be financial: millions of dollars in Universal Service subsidies would be available to them if they would.”
Congress: Lawmakers could grant the FCC clear authority over broadband services, effectively rewriting provisions of communications law. Some lawmakers have already said they would support actions to protect the commission’s jurisdiction over Web access providers. But analysts question if Congress would be able to pass such a bill, given other national priorities such as the economy and financial reform.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said he would support expanded authority.
“We are now at a crucial crossroads – to preserve the historic openness of the Internet,” Markey said in a statement. “I will also continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to provide the commission any additional authority it may need to ensure openness of the Internet.”
“It would be wrong to double down on excessive and burdensome regulations," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), who oversees appropriations for the FCC.
Appeal: The FCC could appeal the U.S. Circuit Court’s decision, hoping to buy it some time as it pursues broadband policies like USF reform and net neutrality. But it’s a gamble. A loss would land the FCC right where it is again and groups that oppose certain rules test the agency’s ability to form those rules. That could be a legal nightmare
April 7, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: AT&T , Broadband , Comcast , FCC
Save & Share: Previous: FCC loses Comcast's court challenge, a major setback for agency on Internet policies
Next: Loss in court casts in doubt status of Web watchdog
Posted by: SPO1 | April 7, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Eric12345 | April 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AmyBandini | April 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.