Friday, October 15, 2010

The FCC can regulate broadband access; Is not taking over the internet

There is much ado in the blogosphere about the imminent takeover of the internet by the FCC. This article explains the actions planned by the FCC and their lack of effect on internet content.

here appears to be a great deal of confusion about this simple concept, which could probably be cleared up by understanding some definitions.

Definition one: The Internet. The Internet is that vast collection of content, applications and services hosted on computers that can all interconnect through a commonly understood computer language. The Communications Act, the law governing telecommunications, does not regulate the content, applications and servers.

Definition two: Broadband. Broadband is a high-speed data service commonly used to link customers to the Internet. It is also known as an Internet access service and is usually offered by a telephone or cable company in a monopoly or near-monopoly situation.

Until 2005, broadband fell under provisions of the law regulating most telephone services (Title II, if you’re keeping score), but was “reclassified” by the FCC into a more general area of the law (Title I, if you’re still keeping score), but still under the law. Broadband serves the same purpose as an old voice line did in the dial-up days – to provide the telecommunications connection.

(At the time five years ago, no one in Congress or in industry objected to the reclassification, perhaps because it benefitted the telephone and cable companies. Now that the FCC wants to reverse that mistake and protect consumers, it suddenly becomes a big deal and an infringement of congressional authority as the telecom industry pours millions of dollars every quarter into lobbying. If conservatives and the TEA party are afraid of anything, it should be the special interests buying off Congress to ensure their freedom, but not yours.)

Read more at the Washington Examiner:
The FCC can regulate broadband access

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