+1 212 318 2000
Europe, Middle East, & Africa
+44 20 7330 7500
+65 6212 1000
By Paul Barbagallo
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski told lawmakers he will consider closing a rulemaking docket that was opened in 2010 to reclassify broadband as a basic utility subject to strict, telephone service-like regulation.
Genachowski, testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Feb. 16 on issues relating to the FCC budget, said no one at the agency has been working on the docket, but it still remains open.
“Why not close it?” asked Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.). Genachowki responded: “It is something that we will consider,”and added that the agency has been focused on reforming the Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation system.
But Walden pressed further, saying, “You're here, we can consider it now.” Genachowski remained noncommital, saying it is “something I will discuss with my staff.”
The issue has been among the most politically contentious at the FCC and on Capitol Hill. The controversy began in April 2010, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FCC had overstepped its authority in applying a portion of the Communications Act to an internet service provider, leaving the agency's long-running effort to adopt network neutrality regulations in question.
Faced with new legal uncertainty, Genachowski proposed reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. Under the act, the FCC has limited authority over “information services,”which broadband is now classified as, but has vast powers to regulate telephone utilities and “common carriers.” As part of a plan dubbed the “Third Way,” the commission would reclassify high-speed internet service under the more-stringent title, but only the “transmission” component—not rates or content.
The chairman ultimately decided to scrap the plan after the industry vehemently protested. The FCC opted for a different legal approach, voting in December 2010 to enact net neutrality rules based on Titles II , III, and VI of the Communications Act, as well as Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which directs the FCC to “encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans.”
That decision is now being appealed, which some industry observers and tech-sector analysts say is the reason the FCC has kept the docket open.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).