NY Times Says FCC Should Reclassify Broadband Under Title II

from the about-time... dept

The big fight in the net neutrality battle is whether or not the FCC will agree to reclassify broadband under Title II, effectively arguing that it's a "common carrier" subject to certain specific rules. While earlier this year many insiders insisted this was politically impossible, over the last few months, it's become increasingly feasible from a political standpoint. That doesn't mean it will happen. In fact, it's probably still a longshot, in part because I can't remember the last time an FCC chairperson didn't seek "the easy way out" rather than making a tough decision and standing up for what's right. However, the latest to jump on the "reclassify" bandwagon is the NY Times editorial board, making a clear case for reclassification.
As a candidate in 2007, Mr. Obama rightly opposed letting telecommunications companies charge “different rates to different websites.” But Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the F.C.C. who was appointed by Mr. Obama, has proposed troubling rules that would allow cable and phone firms to enter into specials with companies like Facebook and Google as long as the contracts are “commercially reasonable.” These rules would effectively allow telecoms to divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes.

The commission has a better option. It can reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service, which would allow regulators to prohibit phone and cable companies like Verizon and Comcast from engaging in unjust or unreasonable discrimination against content. The F.C.C. wrongly classified broadband as an information service during the administration of George W. Bush, a decision that has limited the F.C.C.’s ability to protect consumers and smaller Internet firms.

Mr. Obama is sending Mr. Wheeler and his fellow commissioners a message. They should pay attention.
Of course, one editorial board opinion might not seem like that big of a deal, but (whether for good reasons or bad), the NYT's editorial board still holds a fair amount of sway within DC circles. In other words, this is at least another partial step forward in driving home the idea that reclassifying broadband is both the right thing to do and completely politically feasible.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: common carrier, fcc, politics, reclassification, title ii
Companies: ny times

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. icon
    Whatever (profile), 17 Aug 2014 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There's nothing particularly unique about B4RN's plan, so you need to provide details to support that statement.

    Quite simply, their business plan falls apart if they aren't getting passage for free. If they were paying passage and cabling in the same manner that commercial entities are forced to do, their own admission is that the plan does not work.

    The plan is based on obtaining an advantage that puts them in a place commercial companies are not going to be, creating an unfair business advantage.

    But please show me where private corporations are doing this.

    They are not. They are paying the high costs to install their own cabling along the right of ways as pointed out, and thus have nothing to share.

    Since private corporations see no profit potential, and therefore have no plans to service B4RN's rural communities any time soon, there are no issues concerning competition;

    if the private companies could install fiber for 5 pounds a meter, they would be all over it like a dirty shirt. It would be a profitable business. However, they are restricted on how they can install, it's very expensive.

    Concessions are not the only means by which munis can succeed, not by a long shot;

    Given an equal and level playing field, the commercial companies would be in there making the muni much less desirable. That the commercial operators have to spent many more times over to install similar service keeps them from doing it.

    namely the crappy service provided by the major U.S. telecoms

    yes, because the crappy service from US telecoms is keeping the UK from getting wired, right?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.