Update: FCC’s “Net Neutrality” Finds New Life by Reverting to Status Quo

by Matt Klassen on May 7, 2010

There’s nothing worse than a large, unwieldy bureaucratic entity that has no power and nothing to do, so when I recently wrote about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) inept bungling of the first real test of its net neutrality policy on broadband wireless providers, when it lost its ongoing legal battle with Comcast over the latter’s blatant throttling back the amount of the network dedicated to certain peer to peer services like Bit Torrent, I got the feeling that FCC wouldn’t take that decision lying down, if for no other reason than to give its staff something to occupy their time.

Therefore, in a concentrated effort to remain a meddlesome presence in the lives of all Americans, the FCC has proposed a new way forward; a way that brings us back to the way things were before; a way that makes us all forget that the FCC was effectively neutered by the court’s ruling, and, hopefully, a way that lets everything go back to the way things used to be…sort of.

In a recent statement, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski laid out the plans for a new way forward, a revised course of action meant to circumnavigate the court’s decision and finally bring about a “framework to support policies that advance our global competitiveness and preserve the Internet as a powerful platform for innovation, free speech, and job creation.”

But how will the FCC go about reviving their much needed net neutrality policy? Perhaps by fighting to have telecommunications law altered in response to the technological advancements the industry has seen since the FCC was initially created more than 75 years ago, or perhaps by appealing to the public for their support in the worthy battle to restore a sense of competition and fairness in the telecom industry.

The problem is all of those ways seem really hard, so how about by following what Chairman Genachowski has dubbed the third way? Simply put, a way that “will seek to restore the status quo as it existed prior to the court decision in order to fulfill the previously stated agenda of extending broadband to all Americans, protecting consumers, ensuring fair competition, and preserving a free and open Internet.” Good thinking FCC, because the status quo was clearly working for you before.

The minor changes the FCC is looking to make would involve reclassifying broadband services as a telecommunications service under the Telecommunications Act, a move that would effectively see the FCC apply only certain rules from the analog telephone era to today’s modern broadband Internet, in hopes of regulating, at the very least, prices and fair competition.

While I, for one, fully support the need for increased broadband regulations and net neutrality, rules that will actually foster telecommunications growth in America, this sort of half-assed pandering to the perennial wireless broadband giants like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T serves little purpose.

As Tech Crunch blogger MG Siegler notes, to really be effective, “the FCC needs to do exactly what the cable and phone companies don’t want them to do: create more competition in the market. “ With the current state of broadband, however, seeing ISPs monopolize certain parts of the country and arbitrarily imposing their own rules on internet customers, one wonders if the FCC’s latest moves will give the commission any actual power, or if it’s just a weak attempt to justify the commission’s continued existence.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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Congress Rebukes FCC’s 3rd Way Towards Net Neutrality: Genachowski Tries to Think of a 4th Way — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

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