The Federal Communications Commission is planning to vote today about whether it should take public comment on reclassifying broadband as a common carrier and the major players are already giving its opinions.
If reclassified, broadband connection providers wouldn’t be able to prioritize their content over competitors. Comcast, for example, wouldn’t be able to deliver its NBC programming at a higher quality over the shows from CBS. Content providers and many Internet companies are all for this, as it would essentially make all traffic equal. This ruling could also have a big impact on the future of mobile broadband too, as the FCC sees this as an important tool to bridge the digital divide.
Service providers like Verizon aren’t big fans of the move, however.
Reclassifying high-speed broadband Internet service as a telecom service is a terrible idea. The negative consequences for online users and the Internet ecosystem would be severe and have ramifications for decades. It is difficult to understand why the FCC continues to consider this option.
Rather than attempting to make the new world of broadband fit into the regulatory scheme of the old telephone world, the FCC should acknowledge that this is an issue Congress should address. Nearly 300 members of Congress have signed letters to the FCC, warning against reclassification and expressing support for congressional action.
We will continue to work with the Congress, the FCC and other interested parties to resolve these issues in a manner that encourages investment, innovation, jobs and the best possible online experience for users.
No matter what the FCC decides, the process will take a long time – the last major shakeup was in 1996 and look at how much has changed since then. The industry players will play a strong role in the decision but so will the public, so let us know what you think in the comments.