The Federal Communications Commission is set to start process for regulatory control over broadband. The commission voted 3-2 on Thursday in favor of a resolution to seek public comment on its new regulatory framework, called Third Way. The framework proposes to put broadband Internet on a footing similar to telephone, and enable the FCC to exercise authority over Internet service providers.
Long since, the FCC is allowing the broadband services to exist in virtually free regulatory environment in order to encourage Internet use.
Recently in April, a court decision had curtailed its effort to assert authority over Internet services. Currently defined as information service, broadband is out of the regulatory ambit of FCC. “The FCC has an obligation to move forward with an open, constructive public comment process to ask hard questions, build a record, find a solution, and resolve the uncertainty that has been created,” remarked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The new framework would bring broadband service providers in the same league as telephone services. However, the services would not be subjected to full regulation after the new classification, he assured, adding that it would rather be a “third way” in which it would be brought to comply with some selected rules only.
Robert McDowell, one of the FCC Commissioners who cast dissenting, vote said that it would not be appropriate to apply rules for phone services on Internet services, due to latter’s complexity. Similarly, detractors of the proposed framework insist that the FCC is crossing its limits. The commission should wait for clarification from Congress on its mandate, they maintain.