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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

FCC's Copps: net neutrality requires reclassification of broadband

By Cecilia Kang


Federal Communications Commission member Michael J. Copps said Thursday night that the agency should strengthen its authority over the Internet by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service, thereby subjecting network operators to heavier regulation.

The remarks, made at an event on media at the Columbia University School of Journalism, offer insight into Copps’ thinking on regulations proposed Wednesday that would force Internet service providers to treat all content on their networks equally.

"These rules must be put on the most solid possible legal foundation and be quickly and effectively enforceable," said Copps, a Democrat. "If this requires reclassifying advanced telecommunications as a Title II telecommunications . . . we should just do it and get it over with."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday that his proposed net-neutrality rules would not require the agency to reclassify broadband. That stirred concerns among some public interest groups, including Public Knowledge, that have urged the agency to assert its regulatory authority to carry out broadband rules.

"Right now the FCC is at the floor, and the only place to go is up," Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn wrote in a blog post.

Genachowski's proposal, intended as a compromise between the interests of giant broadband providers and Web companies, has been criticized from many sides. Copps, a key Democratic ally to Genachowski, pressed for several elements that weren't included in the chairman's proposal. Genachowski needs three votes to pass his rules, which will be considered on Dec. 21 after deliberation between the commissioners.

Copps said broadband providers should be prevented from charging Web sites and applications for better delivery of service on channels of their networks at the expense of Internet users.

"So-called 'managed services' and 'paid priority' cannot be allowed to supplant the quality of the public Internet service available to us all," Copps said.

Genachowski's proposal would bar wireless carriers from blocking competing video and voice applications on their networks, but does not prohibit them from serving up some sites faster than others.

By Cecilia Kang  | December 3, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  FCC, Net Neutrality  
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Nothing good ever comes from "more government". If you want to isure neutrality and transparency the Congress should be barred from naming bills themselves. You can call a pile of steaming feces a rose but you might not want to stop and smell it. Net neutrality is meant to mandate a liberal slant when a conservative site is queried, unlike the TV media which is predominatelky liberal and exempt. The "food safety" bill is just monumental government intrusion into manufacturing and a boon for Monsanto and George Soros. Where is the journalist who, in the past, would have been champing at the bit to expose this corruption? Certainly NOT at the Washington ComPost.
Wake up people!

Posted by: theduck6 | December 3, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I have 22 reasons + 1 why the FCC should avoid imposing Net Neutrality regulations.

The "+1"? - the Market works mainly because govt regulation hasn't been imposed. Here're the other 22:

Posted by: MikeWendy | December 3, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

how about looking into the long term health effects of all these 'free floating' electromagnetic waves?

keeping competition insures some degree of fairness on the business end. but the real potential problem is how it effects LIFE itself.

these waves are already effecting bees and their effectiveness in the fresh produce arena of the food chain.

prolonged periods of cell phone use have already been linked to promoting growth of certain kinds of cancer cells.

we need to investigate the long term health consequences of this type of communication.

as a personal testimony, we cut our usage from 1hr./day to ~ 20min./month and moved to a home that has no cell phone service. our incidence of headaches has dropped to 1/10 of what it was just 4 years ago. and libido is back to where it was 30 years ago. i'll take that over tweeting any day.

Posted by: boblesch | December 3, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Federal Communications Commission member Michael J. Copps is right. REMOVE the deregulation that took place years ago on Broadband that removed competition for the major players. Put Broadband back 100% under title II and be done with it. Prices will go down and service quality will go up, because there will be more choices available. When you have a choice between crappy service A or crappy service B, you do not have a choice for high quality service. You folks who live in the DC metro area, including the majority of the federal politicians, have the best internet in the nation. Step outside that bubble and ask what the real US consumer is getting.

Posted by: rfceo | December 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The FCC has little if any power to influence the RBOC's and cables as well.
I hear from others here that the FCC should release what little hold they have on broadband. This competition will be better served! Baloney. The bells will always crush their competition if left to their own control.
Look at wireline and how they have avoided playing by the rules.
The 1996 Telecommunications act was rewritten to conform to the standards of our society. The idea was to allow equal and fair competition to flourish. Again baloney. My friends look at the Waiver request and see how the RBOC coalition has avoided following the rules by simply ignoring them. Also review the NST order which they absolutely laughed at.
If the FCC does not enforce the rules it will be like the Wild West for the bells and cables.

Posted by: rmaro2 | December 3, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The wireless carriers would like you to believe that they are providing a limited resource and the content providers are free ridiing, using more bandwidth than they should and harming others by dominating the airwaves. The available wireless Internet capacity is what an economist might call a commons, and the carriers claim Google and others are trying to graze a million cows on the carriers acre of land.

What the wireless carriers do not want you to consider is that the available radio bandwidth suitable for use in broadband data communications is indeed a commons, something which we cannot expand, and which in a very real sense must then be treated as a public asset. They don't want you to realize that they lobbied to be allowed to purchase exclusive use of pieces of this fixed and unexpandable piece of radio real estate. The public value of auctioning the airwaves was to reduce risk to the carriers so they could marshal the capital to build out their infrastructure, sort of like building a well in the center of town to get to the auquifer underneath. However, now that they have their fences around the community well they have decided that they don't like the idea that they just get to charge us for the water. They realized they could make a whole bunch more money if they could charge us for everything we do with the water. They want us to pay them a cut for the soap in our bath, the pot we cook in and the glass we drink from, and if we don't like it then they won't sell us any water.

Net neutrality is about not allowing the carriers to extort bribes by allowing some water users to always go to the head of the line to get to the water which was a public resource in the first place.

Stick it to them, Commissioner Copps!

Posted by: gardoglee | December 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Note that Cecilia Kang, Google's Reporter and Network Neutrality Lobbyist at The Post, gives ink to Copps and a Google lobbyist, Gigi Sohn, both of whom favor Google's corporate regulatory agenda (part of which is misleadingly labeled network "neutrality" even though it favors Google). But oddly, Ms. Kang presents no contrasting viewpoints. Why am I not surprised? I am, however, surprised that The Post has not dismissed Ms. Kang for her blatant bias and conflicts of interest.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | December 6, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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