Originally published: April 29, 2010
Last updated: April 29, 2010 - 10:05pm
Representatives from three major Internet service providers and five industry trade groups sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Thursday to discourage the agency against classifying broadband as a telecommunications service, which would boost the FCC's power to regulate broadband providers.
In the letter, AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and other signers pushed back on the argument that classifying broadband in this way would be returning to oversight schemes that existed before the FCC was under the control of the administration of Republican President George W. Bush, which consumer advocates say imposed deregulatory policies. The companies said the letter aims to "set the record straight" by explaining that "the commission has never classified any kind of Internet access service (wireline, cable, wireless, powerline, dial-up or otherwise) as a ... telecommunications service, nor has it ever regulated the rates, terms and conditions of that service -- Internet access service has always been treated as a Title I information service."
"This latest letter from the telephone and cable industries is yet another sign that the industry will make any argument to avoid the simple fact that consumers deserve protection against companies [that] block or degrade service and deserve more competition in Internet services," Public Knowledge Legal Director Harold Feld said in a news release. Feld argued that the carriers got the facts wrong and that "the Internet flourished with much more regulation on the telephone companies (which should have also been applied to cable companies) than anyone is discussing now."
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