FCC could reclassify broadband Internet as "telecom" within weeks [telecom]

This is somewhat suprising news found in Dave Lazarus' column in the LA Times today:

" A battle is about to erupt between federal regulators and telecom " companies, and nothing less than the future of the Internet could " be on the line. " " At issue is a seemingly benign question: Is the Net an " information service or a telecommunication service? " " As it stands, high-speed Internet service is classified by the " Federal Communications Commission as a "Title I" information " service in the same way that Google is an information " service. This means broadband providers such as phone and cable " companies are only lightly regulated by the agency. " " By reclassifying broadband as a "Title II" telecom service -- " like, say, phone service -- the FCC would be able to more closely " oversee providers' actions and pricing, and would be better " positioned to implement its recently announced 10-year plan to " bring high-speed Net access to virtually every U.S. home. " " I know: This is wonky stuff. But the stakes couldn't be higher, " especially at a time when broadband Internet service is playing " an increasingly vital role in a wide variety of areas, including " entertainment, education and healthcare. " " "This could determine whether the FCC really has the power to act " on its broadband plan," said Ben Scott, policy director with Free " Press, a communications advocacy group. "It will define who " really runs the Net." " " The issue has its roots in a ruling this month by the U.S. Court " of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the FCC has " only limited power under current law to control the online " actions of network operators such as phone and cable companies. " " The case grew out of assertions by cable giant Comcast Corp. that " it had a right to block Net users from accessing file-sharing " websites such as BitTorrent. " " The ruling effectively declared that the Net's corporate " gatekeepers can claim the last word when it comes to what passes " through their pipes -- not a great position for federal regulators " seeking to improve the nation's broadband resources. " " One possible way to enhance the FCC's jurisdiction over the Net " would be a bill from Congress firmly establishing the agency's " dominion over broadband networks, just as it oversees phone " systems. But with Republicans in full no-more-regulation mode, " such a legislative fix seems unlikely. " " That leaves reclassification of broadband's status from " information to telecom service. The FCC could do this " unilaterally, but it would then have to withstand a full-on " assault by interest-protecting, deep-pocketed phone and cable " companies. " [...] " But agency insiders tell me that movement toward reclassifying " broadband networks as telecom services could come within weeks.

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Reply to
Thad Floryan
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Most cable subscribers use their connection more for IP and telecom than they do for TV programming these days.

That is my experience with it.

That said, the cable operators did it to themselves and they should be regulated as telecom services as opposed to information services.

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