Industry describes FCC's efforts to reclassify broadband as 'untenable'

AT&T, Verizon Communications, the CTIA and several other large telecom companies and trade groups urged the FCC not to reclassify broadband services under the same regulatory category as telephony, warning that such a move would lead to turmoil. The warning, made in a 14-page letter to the FCC, is the latest salvo fired in the debate over new net neutrality rules, which the commission is currently considering for both wired and wireless networks.

Any decision to reclassify broadband from an "information service" to a "telecommunications service" would have "far-reaching and destructive consequences," the companies said. The letter also was signed by Time Warner Cable, Qwest and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

"The proposed regulatory about-face would be untenable as a legal matter, and, at a minimum, would plunge the industry into years of litigation and regulatory chaos," the companies said in the letter.

Putting broadband services under the telecommunications category will give the FCC more regulatory power over the space. Currently, a federal appeals court is considering whether the FCC overstepped its authority when it ordered Comcast to stop blocking subscribers' access to the BitTorrent file-sharing service.

The FCC declined to comment on the letter. The agency is in the midst of considering comments to its initial net neutrality proposal, which it passed in October. Final comments are due March 5.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Washington Post article
- see this The Hill article

Related Articles:
Obama defends net neutrality as legal challenges loom
FCC grapples with net neutrality authority
AT&T supports spirit, not strict rules of net neutrality
FCC's Baker skeptical of net neutrality for wireless
FCC approves preliminary net neutrality rules

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