FCC proposes new broadband framework

Robert Clark
07 May 2010

The US Federal Communications Commission has set out a new framework for broadband regulation, aiming to regulate transmission but not other aspects of broadband services.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the new approach went some way to reclassifying broadband as telecom service after an appeals court decision last month rejected the FCC’s attempt to set rules for net neutrality.

He said the decision in the Comcast case had “cast serious doubt” on the legal basis for the FCC’s approach to broadband, which since 2002 it had classified as an “information service.”

Under the new framework, the FCC would “recognize the transmission component” of broadband – and no other aspect – as a telecom service, Genachowski.

The commission would not seek to regulate broadband pricing, e-commerce or internet content, Genachowski said.

It would place broadband policy “on the soundest legal foundation, thereby eliminating as much of the current uncertainty as possible.”

Genachowski said the proposed framework would restore the status quo. It would not put more obligations on broadband service providers and would not give the FCC greater authority than it had prior to the Comcast case, he added.

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