FCC Votes to Collect Public Comments on Broadband Regulation
FCC Democrats in favor while Republicans oppose
The FCC wants to get broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps to 100 million homes in America. One of the ways that the FCC wants to ensure that the content online that Americans can access is not filtered is by increasing its regulatory authority. However, that authority was proven inadequate in April 2010 when a Federal Court ruled that the FCC couldn't stop Comcast from throttling traffic on its network.
To shore up its authority in regulating the internet the FCC has taken a step towards regulation this week. The FCC voted 3-2 to collect public comments on whether or not broadband internet service should fall under the same regulations that are used on phone services. As expected, the major broadband providers around the country like AT&T and Comcast are vigorously speaking out against any proposed regulation of broadband providers.
AT&T's Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president, said, "We remain confident that if the FCC persists in its course -- -and we truly hope it does not -- the courts will surely overturn their action."
Reuters reports that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and the two other Democrats at the FCC are in favor of regulating the internet to assure free flow of information. However, the Republican members of the FCC voted against regulation.
Genachowski said, "My desire is simply that we restore the status quo and have a workable light-touch framework for broadband access."
The FCC has tried to soothe the fears of broadband providers by saying it would not force regulation of rates and line sharing on the broadband market as it has on the phone market. The FCC will take public comments until July 15 with reply comments due by August 12.