May 6, 2010

Could Be A Big Day [7:35 am]

Don’t hatchet your Counts before they chicken, and all, but — F.C.C. Is Expected to Make Push to Regulate Broadband [pdf]

Two F.C.C. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a sort of hybrid between an information service and a utility and that it has sufficient power to regulate Internet traffic under existing law.

The F.C.C. decision is likely to be seen as a victory for content companies like Amazon.com and Google, the owner of YouTube, which do not want Internet service providers to have the power to charge them for access to customers or for faster download speeds.

[...] The F.C.C. has limited authority over information services but it has vast powers to regulate certain utilities. It contends that a mix of those powers can be applied to broadband service.

Some potential downsides; deciding to smudge the “bright line” between communication services and information services will likely introduce a whole new set of regulatory headaches for the FCC. It will be interesting to learn over the coming weeks why, exactly, the FCC has decided to tear down this particular regulatory edifice.

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