Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

April 13, 2010 -

In the wake of Comcast emerging triumphant over the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a court spat regarding the media company’s throttling of peer-to-peer traffic, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has a serious decision to make.

A picture USA Today paints of the situation insinuates that Genachowski has two choices: he can attempt to get regulators to define broadband Internet as a “highly regulated common carrier service like telephones,” or “he can let cable and phone companies call the shots by allowing it to remain a lightly regulated information service.”

If the chairman did choose the first course of action, he would likely witness an “all-out attack” on the FCC from cable and phone companies. Subscribing to the second, laissez-faire school of thought would probably force Genachowski to shelve, or change, initiatives like the National Broadband Policy and/or Net Neutrality.

Verizon Executive Tom Tauke called the current laws, “badly out of date,” while Andrew Schwartman of the Media Access Project, stated that any major new law would “surely take a year or two” to get through Congress, time that Genachowski does not appear to have.

The solution? Perhaps a compromise:

… he could agree to take broadband reclassification off the table as long as providers make legally binding promises to offer consumer protections called for in the National Broadband Plan and to agree to treat all Web services equally. But it will be hard to please everybody as advocates gear up for a fight.


Comments

Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

It should be lightly regulated or no regulation at all. Every company if they have it their way will want to charge everyone for internet and websites and crap like that. Greedy bastards!

 

 

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Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

That doesn't sound like much of a choice at all.

Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

This article makes a clear misstatement.  The FCC is an agency.  For the FCC to change the way it handles broadband internet, there are 2 possible solutions (really 3 but one has been foreclosed somewhat).  

First: Legislation.  But this is pointless, congress is a mess and utterly gridlocked and this issue would never get past a single house.

Second: Adjudication, this is what they TRIED to do.  The agency can change the rules in adjudication but it's traditionally looked upon in a skeptical way by courts because you're holding someone accountable for something which wasn't previously condemned.  Keep in mind also the FCC v. Fox case recently decided was another example of changing the rules via adjudication.

Third:  (Notice and Comment) Rulemaking.  This is the obvious winner.  It can take a while, but probably not as long as losing a (this) case.  This is an AGENCY they don't need to change a substantive law they just need to change the way they interpret their statute.  Agencies do this all the time, particularly when an administration changes.  This isn't really a "big" decision at all, but an obvious one.  

In fact, the Brand X case preceeding this case was an instance where the agency changed the rules (in favor of deregulating cable internet because they don't provide a "telecomunication service" but an "information package" because when you get a connection from Comcast / other cable provider you are getting not only the connection but other "benefits" like a homepage and email address (completely bs, but, under Chevron and Mead the court is sort of obligated to defer to the agency.)

Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

The case vers commiecast was poorly handled on the FCCs side. So I do not think the FCC will have much trouble dealing with the ISPs.


But at the end of the day the US government would be better off telling the land line companies you've had your chance to play nice, since you can not do this we are taking all the land lines and we will rent them to you.


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Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

While I think it is good when the government fears it's people, the fact the government fears companies (which are really just stateless governments) within its own boarders is not a good thing.  The FCC should do what its mandate says and what it is supposed to do.  The feelings of the telecoms should not play in to thier decision.  They should not have to comprimise.

And yeah.. I know it is the nature of power to be able to force state actors to comprimise....

Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

The problem with the hands off approach is the fact that companies often have monopolies over areas. honestly i've never known broadband that isn't comcast because that's the only choice.

If people are lucky, they might have two choices.

Throw that in with good old greed, and the consumer just is pretty much screwed.

However with the more heavy regulated approach, you'll get all kinds of people screaming about how the government is taking over our lives, despite the fact that it would make it easier to institute net neutrility (supposedly). All though i'm sure the FCC has probably done negative things in the past to warrent such accusations.

Basically? without some ground breaking mythical "pleases everybody" compromise, it's gonna be a lose/lose situation for him.

Re: Big Decision Looms for FCC’s Genachowski

The compromise does sound good, and it might be, up until the companies begin hunting for loopholes.

 
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