Originally published: September 30, 2010
Last updated: September 30, 2010 - 8:32pm
With renewed attention on the Federal Communications Commission and net neutrality, some lawmakers have cast their support for the agency to reassert its authority as regulator of broadband Internet services.
Rep Ed Markey (D-MA) joined Sen Byron Dorgan (D-ND) on Sept 30, urging the Federal Communications Commission to reassert its authority over broadband services after a failed House attempt to create a network neutrality bill. Other lawmakers, including Rep Joe Barton (R-TX), have been fiercely critical of such a move.
Broadband service providers and Internet content firms are expressing mixed reactions.
"After months of hard work, we were pleased to reach an agreement with Chairmen Waxman and Boucher on compromise legislation that would ensure the openness of the Internet while protecting investment - all without new, intrusive FCC regulation," wrote Jim Cicconi, senior vice president of external affairs at AT&T. That "intrusive FCC regulation" would be reclassification of broadband services. On Sept 28, AT&T said it had reached a deal to support draft legislation which would have regulated both wireline and wireless networks. The rules for wireline networks were tougher. The draft bill also prevented the FCC from placing broadband businesses under telephone rules, a proposal phone and cable companies have strongly resisted.
The broadband and television satellite services provider Dish Network said the only way to create a net neutrality rule is for the FCC to redefine broadband as a telecommunications service.
Facebook, which has advocated for net neutrality rules regardless of whether they are mandated by Congress or the FCC, said it supported Waxman's efforts. But spokesman Andrew Noyes said the social networking giant would be concerned if such a bill didn't include rules to prevent carriers from blocking applications such as Facebook.
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