The Federal Communication Commission is set to vote Thursday about whether it will take public comment on reclassifying broadband as a common carrier. We’ve touched upon this before because this could have a major impact on your home and mobile data connections.
The move would eventually help us determine how, if anything, the government will regulate broadband. If it were classified as a common carrier, service providers wouldn’t be able to prioritize its own content over the competition – this would make all traffic equal, essentially. Many consumer groups and Internet companies are all for this, as it would put most companies on equal footing.
The service providers don’t really like this, as most think they’ve shelled out the cash for the infrastructure, so they should be able to do what they want. Additionally, government regulation can sometimes be heavy handed and could place unneeded pressure on the companies.
Why do we care as a mobile site? It’s all about that mobile data friends. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has repeatedly said that mobile data could be an important tool for solving the country’s digital divide and the ruling on fixed Internet providers could have ramifications for mobile data ones. In particular, Genachowski thinks the 4G services from the likes of Sprint and Verizon Wireless could be an important way for rural communities to get high-speed Internet connectivity.
So far, Genachowski has been pretty good to the mobile industry. He’s implemented rules which speeds up the process of putting up new cell phone towers, is plotting to snatch away spectrum from broadcasters for mobile providers, and he has spoken many times about a looming spectrum crisis.
Whatever happens this week, you can be sure this will be a long, drawn-out process that could take years. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing as this is a thorny issue that should be carefully considered before any rash actions are taken.
Oh yeah, if you want to help the FCC with its decision, feel free to download its mobile app to tell the governmental agency how good or bad your broadband is.
[Via The Associated Press]