The FCC has approved a formal process today to gather feedback on the FCC chairman’s proposal to narrowly reclassify the transmission component of broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service. FCC Chaiman Julius Genachowski’s so-called “third way” would excuse Internet Access Providers from price regulation, but it would limit their ability to discriminate and prioritize online traffic based on their own commercial business interests.
The move would help clarify the FCC’s authority to protect open Internet access. A recent court ruling has left the FCC with no enforceable rules to protect the nondiscriminatory broadband access that so many consumers, small businesses and nonprofits depend on every day. The Computer & Communications Industry Association represents a diverse array of communications and tech companies that all have an interest in the FCC’s handling of broadband Internet access and oppose heavy-handed regulation.
The following comments can be attributed to Ed Black, CCIA President & CEO:
“Broadband Internet access is critical telecommunications infrastructure in 21st century America, and indeed around the world. We would urge the FCC to take steps toward implementing Genachowski’s proposal to provide clarity for Internet Access Providers and businesses that rely on web access and to ensure consumers continue to be able to access the open Internet – rather than being steered to specific services based on their IAP’s business relationships.”
“Genachowski’s proposal narrowly regulates Internet access providers without regulating the Internet itself. It’s the best solution for both entrepreneurial innovation and Internet users.
“Instead of succumbing to the paralysis a single court decision might have caused, the FCC is proceeding with a careful, measured, but proactive approach to protecting the public interest in universal and nondiscriminatory access to the public Internet. Without deliberate FCC action, consumers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits will be left completely powerless against the corporate commercial interests of their unregulated Internet access providers.
“The so-called ‘third way’ is one of the most critical consumer telecommunications policy initiatives of the past ten years. But the details also represent high stakes profits for dominant IAPs. How the FCC handles this will map out how much freedom newcomers will have to launch innovative applications and services that can freely be discovered by others wandering the Internet. We hope the FCC is able to withstand the political backlash it will no doubt face from entrenched stakeholders who want to hang on to deregulation as long as possible.”