FCC going ahead with regulations for broadband
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will try to regulate broadband Internet service despite a recent court ruling that the commission had limited powers to do so.
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will try to regulate broadband Internet service despite a recent court ruling that the commission had limited powers to do so.
Two FCC officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a hybrid between an information service and a utility and that it has sufficient power to regulate Internet traffic under existing law.
The FCC has limited authority over information services but it has vast powers to regulate certain utilities. It contends a combination of those powers can be applied to broadband service.
The FCC officials spoke on the condition of anonymity; Genachowski was not available for comment.
A federal appeals court ruled last month that the FCC had exceeded its authority by telling Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, that it had to give Internet users equal access to all online-content providers, even if some of their content was clogging Comcast's network.
Since then, the FCC has been trying to decide whether to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would be subject to heavier regulation and "common carrier" obligations to share networks and treat all traffic equally.
Genachowski is expected to say that the agency, under its powers to regulate phone service, is permitted to require broadband-service providers to follow certain transmission guidelines, including safeguarding privacy, not discriminating against certain types of content providers, offering service to rural customers at the same rate as urban customers and providing access to people with disabilities.
Potential speed bumps remain before the policy can be carried out. The five-member commission is required to vote on the approach, which will be put out for public comment and revision before final rules are set. The process could take months and may be subject to legal challenges.
A spokeswoman for Comcast declined to comment.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.