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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

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 7, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T , Broadband , Comcast , FCC  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   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


It seems many Americans are taking the side of Corporations (ie: Comcast). Hey if Comcast wants to limit internet usage for the 40 million Americans struggling below the poverty level… then let them. It’s poor peoples own fault they can’t afford the Comcast premium web package. All Americans have a patriotic duty to make sure Comcast makes maximum profit from using the PUBLIC AIRWAVES!

Besides, the FCC is way too busy looking for another Janet Jackson breast sighting… lol

Most card carrying conservatives are so ignorant they don’t even know their own ideological CREDO. “Limited intervention in the economy. Substantial intervention in morality”. This means let the RICH/POWERFUL do whatever they please while finger pointing and preaching to the average Joe and Jane Schmuck.

Can ANY Republican/Conservative out there explain to me how DEREGULATION ever worked in the best interests of the American PEOPLE! And I don’t care WHAT those 5 Conservative morons on the Supreme Court say… I’m going to stand firm in the belief that CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE!

Posted by: SPO1 | April 7, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Alas, SPO1, Ms. Kang is taking the side of a corporation - Google, her sponsor, which is lobbying for onerous Internet regulation. Note that she does not even mention the possibility that the FCC might back down from attempting to do what statute does not authorize, even though it would be in the best interests of consumers and the economy.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

SPO1, have you followed this case at all? This isn't about limiting Internet access to poor people. It's about whether the FCC has been given the authority by Congress to regulate the Internet in a particular way. The Court said no, it hasn't.

And Comcast wasn't limiting access to poor people. It was blocking particular users from using a file sharing site that was eating up huge chunks of limited bandwidth. There are definitely good arguments to be made that Comcast was wrong to do so, but that's not what this case was about. And it's not about poor people vs. corporations and premium web packages.

Oh, and one more thing. This wasn't the Supreme Court that ruled in this case.

Posted by: Eric12345 | April 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Brett, there's not a single ad for a Google product on here. In your ill mind there is conspiracy, but the sane among us know the fact that Google might place some of the ads on this and millions of other blogs, does not mean the author of this and those millions of other blogs have one care in the world what Google thinks. It's not how sponsorship influence works. This blog might care about what Air France thinks (the banner ad for me right now), but Google is providing a service for Air France. If Google didn't place these ads, someone else would.

And Google and Verizon made a deal on Net Neutrality, so your original thesis isn't even sensible anymore. You are just like a babbling idiot on the corner.

Good God Brett. Get back on your meds please. Your obsession with Google is just unhealthy, for you, your neglected wife, and for everyone who has to read your garbage on this forum.

Brett, the hateful racist disgusting stalking game you play on this forum is just so tired. It's abusive, and just plain wrong. What is wrong with you? Have you no soul?

But I guess it makes sense in light of all the allegations going around about you and your stalking behavior and other legal run ins concerning children and people who disagree with you.

Get some help, please. And WaPo, do what so many other websites and email lists have done, and BAN HIM FOR LIFE already.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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