FCC reclassification would face political, legal opposition, analysts say
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski’s reluctance to reclassify broadband as a Title II service suggests that pursuing such a course could be a struggle for the agency, according to a note from two analysts published Monday.
Rebecca Arbogast and David Kaut of Stifel Nicholas wrote in a report to investors that they don’t think a final decision has been made by Genachowski, who would have to get three of five votes from FCC members in any decision.
The note came in response to an article in the Post’s Monday editions that said Genachowski was inclined to keep broadband services deregulated. Arbogast and Kaut note that Monday’s report the indicates that the agency final decision remains a moving target.
“This may accurately capture the current state of deliberations, but we do not think a final decision has yet been made,” they wrote. “There’s speculation that today’s story was a trial balloon, an attempt to galvanize Title II backers to more forcefully make their case, or a snapshot of a moment in the deliberative process.”
Arbogast and Kaut said that reclassifying broadband as a Title II carrier service would face significant opposition from broadband service providers, who would challenge such a move legally and politically. Reclassification could also give Republicans political ammunition to use against the Obama administration; even though the FCC is an independent agency, Genachowski is an Obama appointee. The analysts said Republicans could argue that Title II reclassification would lead over-regulation of the Internet, hurting job creation and chilling investment.
However, Arbogast and Kaut sought in their note to rebut claims about the heavy regulatory impact of reclassification. “We do not agree with those who have charged that there will necessarily be massive re-regulation of broadband under Title II, and that even if the FCC decides to forbear from imposing common carrier regulations it would take years to effectuate the relief,” they wrote. “Rather, we believe the agency will try to reach the same end game it was pursuing before the recent FCC setback in the Comcast case.”
Arbogast and Kaut wrote that they expect Genachowski to give direction on the issue in the next few days or weeks. He would likely – as he did with the net neutrality proposal – solicit public comments for several months. And they said that Genachowski may pursue multiple tracks at once: collecting comments on Title I or Title II; moving forward on merger reviews including of the Comcast-NBC Universal deal; working to bolster the FCC’s case for net neutrality rules; and pursuing other items such as rules on wireless data roaming and reform of a phone subsidy to include broadband.
So far, corporate proponents of net neutrality and reclassification – Google and Skype – have not responded to Monday’s article.
May 4, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: AT&T , Broadband , Comcast , FCC , Google , Net Neutrality , Verizon | Tags: Comcast, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission, Google, NBC, NBC Universal, Network neutrality, Skype
Save & Share: Previous: Free Press balks as FCC leans toward keeping broadband framework
Next: Update: Bill for Internet privacy drafted amid growing concerns
Posted by: LBrettGlass | May 4, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: itkonlyyou38 | May 4, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: drksilenc | May 4, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: rfceo | May 4, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hattrik | May 4, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.