FCC to vote today on initial step toward broadband regulation

The FCC is expected to vote today on the initial step toward reclassifying broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service.

The commission will vote on a notice of inquiry on new rules for enforcing network neutrality rules, redirecting phone subsidies and putting into place other pieces of the agency's national broadband plan.

The commission is moving ahead with reclassifying broadband after a U.S. court of appeals ruled that the FCC didn't have the authority to enforce net neutrality rules. The case involved Comcast's practice of throttling some peer-to-peer traffic. As such, reclassifying broadband to a regulated service would allow the FCC to impose such rules.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has promised that the commission won't apply most of the common-carrier regulations of the Telecom Act to broadband services. He mainly wants to create net neutrality rules to keep providers from blocking content and reform the Universal Service Fun to fund broadband instead of telephone service in poor and rural areas.

Of course the plan has not come without controversy. Some broadband operators have said new regulations might slow down investments in broadband, and broadband use has exploded thanks to a lack of regulations, critics argue.

For more:
-see this IDG News article

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