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


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  1. icon
    Alien Rebel (profile), 18 Aug 2014 @ 12:09pm

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

    Well, this discussion has run its course. B4RN is doing just fine (1)(2) so reality proves your theory on its business model to be utter nonsense. In addition, not only is B4RN a mostly ordinary community non-profit, it's just one of a multitude of local entities that have been setup within the BDUK program (3) according to its established standards and guidelines, in which community-based providers are an essential feature.(4)(5)

    In light of this, your sales pitch using B4RN as an example of municipal broadband being something harmful or "unfair" becomes an amazing display of either complete ignorance or willful disregard for how the British system is organized.

    Lobbyists and salespeople in general all seem to share the psychopathic quality of having little capacity to feel shame, embarrassment, or remorse, so I don't expect you'll care much about being so ridiculously wrong in public, or in having presented yourself as such a magnificent exhibit 'A' for showing what's wrong with the U.S. broadband industry. Here, telecoms use armies of lobbyists to sell the your same pitch, act through ALEC to kill municipal broadband, sue the FCC, and fight net neutrality in order to build out their monopoly powers. What are they doing in the UK? Treating next generation broadband as a vital utility and building it out to as many citizens as they can reach.
    -------

    (1) Broadband for the Rural North website: b4rn.org.uk

    (2) SuperfastLancashire.com (Broadband district in which B4RN resides)

    (3) gov.uk website: Guidance-Broadband Delivery UK- Details of the plan to achieve a transformation in broadband in the UK by 2015.

    (4) Factsheet-Organisational & Legal Structures
    for setting up Community Broadband Organisations (PDF)
    Document from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

    (5) Broadband Delivery Programme: Delivery Model (PDF) Document from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

    ---

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