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Pearlstein: The FCC and the bandwidth wars

By Steven Pearlstein
Friday, August 13, 2010

As a general rule, whenever you hear special-interest groups using near-hysterical language to warn that some proposal will destroy jobs, snuff out innovation and end free-market capitalism as we know it, you can generally assume that progress is being made.

So it is with the controversies swirling around Internet regulation.

A few months back, when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed classifying broadband as a "telecommunications service" for purposes of defining the scope of possible regulation, you'd think from the reaction of the industry and its defenders on Capitol Hill that he was proposing a Soviet-style takeover of the Internet.

Never mind that broadband is, by any common-sense definition, a telecommunication service that includes telephone and television offerings that the FCC has been regulating for decades, plus access to this thing called the Internet that was hardly contemplated by the authors of the Communications Act of 1934.

And never mind that the chairman, a former venture capitalist with a deep entrepreneurial streak, explicitly rejected the kind of heavy-handed price and service regulation that industry critics nonetheless conjured up in a doomsday scenario envisioning a market drained of innovation and investment.

Read here for full column.

By Steven Pearlstein  |  August 13, 2010; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Broadband , FCC  
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