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View Diary: FCC to create new rules to keep Net neutrality (10 comments)

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  •  This is bad news. (10+ / 0-)

    You need a little background to appreciate why.

    Federal law splits communications services - everything from voice telephone service to Netflix-like services running "on top" - into two categories: "telecommunications services" versus "information services", or "Title II" (named for the section of the law) versus "Title I".  The law give the FCC minimal power to oversee Title I information services, and broad authority to oversee Title II telecommunications services.

    The law also gives the FCC authority to determine which category classes of communications service fall into.  Traditional telephone service provided by a former Bell company is clearly Title II, other classes of service are less clear.

    Some years ago the FCC declared that Internet access provided by a company over its own wires or fibers - notably DSL service, FiOS service, and cable modem service - would be classified as lightly-regulated Title I information service.  

    Then, still several years ago, the FCC claimed to find "ancillary authority" to nonetheless impose some regulations on these Title I services - notable "network neutrality." The recent court decision said, "That's too cute by half.  If these are Title I services, your authority is much more limited.  You get to choose whether they are Title I or Title II, but you can't play games with vague 'ancillary' concepts."

    The FCC has full authority to declare that Internet access is a Title II telecommunications service.  It is refusing to do that.

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