Today, in a partisan 3-2 vote, the FCC voted to open a period of public comment on a proposed net neutrality policy on broadband, a policy that would allow the expansion of internet availability. Chairman Julius Genachowski presided over the decision with Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn concurring and Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker dissenting. This period of open comment will help them determine which path of action is best. This is a big step forward towards achieving net neutrality.
More below the fold.
From The New York Times:
The vote formally begins a period of public comment on an F.C.C. proposal to overturn a previous commission ruling that classified broadband transmission as a lightly regulated information service.
The proposal would designate broadband transmission as a telecommunications service, which, as with telephone service, would make it subject to stricter regulation.
The F.C.C. began reconsidering its broadband regulation policies after a federal court of appeals in April invalidated the approach that the commission had long taken. That decision involved the commission’s ability to require that Internet service providers not discriminate against any content or application. The F.C.C. claimed that Comcast had done so in blocking access by its users to BitTorrent, a file-sharing service.
Mr. Genachowski said the commission was seeking comment on three possibilities — keeping regulation as it is, imposing a full telecommunications regulatory regime, and a "third way" approach of limited regulation. He likened that approach to the way the commission has regulated mobile phone services for nearly 20 years.
"The third way approach was developed out of a desire to restore the status quo light-touch framework that existed prior to the court case," Mr. Genachowski said. "Let’s not pretend that the problems with the state of broadband in America don’t exist; let’s not pretend that the risk of excessive regulation is not real, or, at the other extreme, that the absence of basic protections for competition and consumers is acceptable.
Since a slim majority of the House is opposed to net neutrality, this is the only way forward on this policy. The FCC has this power. I don't have any action links at this time, but if anyone here knows any, post it in the comments.