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The FCC is rolling out more regulation -- this time of the internet.
The FCC bids for greater regulatory authority, even as it tries to convince telecoms to embrace spectrum auction

National broadband was one of the key campaign promises that President Barack Obama made in 2008.  His Federal Communication Commission chief, Chairman Julius Genachowski, has tried to deliver on that promise, but has a difficult path ahead.

The FCC's plan to is to take spectrum from television, re-auction it to wireless companies, and use part of the proceeds to finance new lines for the broadband project.  The bid is complicated by the FCC's regulatory war with the same telecoms it hopes to sell spectrum too.

Last month, the FCC lost the first round in its battle with Comcast over internet throttling.  The FCC is trying to stop Comcast from blindly throttling certain kinds of traffic like peer-to-peer connections, commonly used for sharing music and other media.  A U.S. Federal Court ruled that the FCC did not have the power to stop Comcast from doing so.

Now the FCC has reclassified broadband internet from an information service to a telecommunications service, a move that should grant it greater regulatory authority.  The FCC promises it will not abuse the greater regulatory authority its seizing.  The FCC's top attorney, Austin Schlick, comments, "We have never gone back on forbearance.  We have a very strong track record."

Chairman Genachowski, who promised to apply regulation with a "light-touch", added that the approach was only an "interim" step and that he would prefer Congress to officially clarify the regulatory situation.

Verizon Communications Inc executive vice president Tom Tauke says that the plan to step up regulation 
will hurt the national broadband project.  He writes, "The regulatory and judicial proceedings that will ensue can only bring confusion and delay."

Republican FCC members Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker were also critical of the effort.  They write in a joint statement, "This proposal is disappointing and deeply concerns us.  It is neither a light-touch approach, nor a third way."

Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett, concurs, opining that the regulatory bump may not survive legal scrutiny.  He states, "It is extremely unclear whether reclassification will survive judicial review."

Meanwhile, the FCC is left trying to figure out to push both its regulatory and national broadband efforts, a dangerous dance that ultimately brings the future of both efforts into question.

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RE: Good for them
By ebakke on 5/10/2010 12:04:05 PM , Rating: 4
Comcast et all aren't throttling people to prevent piracy. They're doing it to maintain high speeds for the entire network, not just 6 guys downloading a bunch of BluRays.

RE: Good for them
By Goty on 5/10/2010 12:35:55 PM , Rating: 4
Those six guys download Blu-Rays don't get special treatment. Assuming the systems works as it should, everyone gets equal access to the available bandwidth. It's not possible for ONE subscriber to completely saturate a node such that no other subscribers can use the bandwidth.

RE: Good for them
By ebakke on 5/10/2010 12:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
I never claimed a single subscriber could prevent access for other subscribers. I said the telecos are interested in throttling so as to limit the impact to other subscribers.

RE: Good for them
By Exodite on 5/10/2010 1:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
I said the telecos are interested in throttling so as to limit the impact to other subscribers.

Then they should still worry more about streaming media sites and IP telephony than peer-to-peer services.

Basically - TCP good, UDP bad as far as playing nice is concerned.

Then again, cutting or restricting access to streaming media sites or IP telephony brings or full circle back into paying additional fees for using the same applications we already do.

RE: Good for them
By ebakke on 5/10/2010 2:37:48 PM , Rating: 1
I'd rather they determine whatever they should be worried about to maintain their networks, than have the bureaucrats doing it for them.

I'm all for the telecos not throttling me, but I absolutely don't believe the government forcing them to do one thing or another is any more ideal. Living in the Twin Cities, I have access to Comcast, Qwest, ipHouse, HughesNet, and a network card from AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile. Now they all advantages/disadvantages, but I have the ability to share my opinion with the company both verbally, and with my pocketbook. I ultimately use Comcast and likely get throttled me from time to time. Frankly, I just don't care enough about it to give the government more power that I don't think they need (not to mention that I don't think they'll use responsibly).

RE: Good for them
By Exodite on 5/10/2010 1:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast et all aren't throttling people to prevent piracy.

Of course not, the eventual goal is to force consumers into paying more for the same. Ie. offering connection to specific sites or types of media for additional fees.

This is big business, they hardly care about Joe User violating copyright.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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