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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski  (Source: FCC)
Any ruling is expected to treat wireless differently than wired broadband

Net neutrality is a topic that raises some serious support from both sides of the table. The cable and phone companies that provide the majority of the nation's broadband connectivity don’t want the FCC to impose rules and regulation on the industry. At the same time, many consumers want the FCC to step in and force the broadband providers and wireless carriers to treat all traffic equally rather than forcing slower speeds for things like video streaming.

The FCC had previously postponed any rulings on net neutrality until after the November elections were completed. Now that the elections are over, the FCC is again moving to make a decision on net neutrality. The FCC is considering web traffic rules for a meeting set for December reports
Reuters

The meeting was set for December 15, but that meeting has now been postponed until December 20. The delay of the meeting is to give the FCC more time to set its agenda. Agendas for meetings are typically released three weeks before a meeting is held. The FCC has not confirmed that net neutrality will be the topic of its December meeting.

Analyst Jeffery Silva said, "The signals out there seem to be they are in fact contemplating a vote in December." He continued, "The situation's very fluid at the present time, and I think they're carefully considering the message they've received from Capitol Hill and trying to figure out their next step."

One of the core issues that the FCC is considering is the reclassification of internet services under the same umbrella as telephone service. The reclassification of broadband services in that manner would give the FCC a better legal footing for forcing broadband providers to follow its rules. The FCC's legal authority over the broadband and wireless industries has been questioned in court.

Reuters reports that an analyst from Stifel Nicolaus stated in a research note the FCC is likely to skip reclassification in favor of a net neutrality bill that was developed by House Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman back in September.  The legislation is a draft right now and had support from industry providers but was unable to move forward in the House.

Analysts expect that any rules adopted for the industry would treat wireless broadband differently. The expectation is that the wireless providers would be allowed to put more focus on voice calls over video and other services using their network.



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RE: Don't touch my internet
By OUits on 11/26/2010 12:34:47 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If this crap couldn't pass the house and senate why are they trying to do it via the FCC?

Well, that's just the thing. Right now the FCC only has "ancillary authority" over broadband through Title 1 of TA96. The Comcast ruling showed everybody just how limited that ancillary authority really is. So, unless Congress explicitly gives them the authority (really really seems unlikely), the FCC can either continue under Title 1 and fight a legal battle with every single decision it makes, or reclassify broadband under Title 2 like telephone companies. The NN argument here is just a facade. The question the FCC is asking themselves is not "How do we do NN?" it is the much more basic "How do we assert our authority over broadband? (NN or otherwise)" Whether you agree with the FCC wanting authority over broadband is a separate issue from NN entirely.


RE: Don't touch my internet
By lolmuly on 11/26/2010 4:18:37 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly, the question isn't whether your internet will be touched, it will be touched, quite inappropriately. The question here is, do you want a consumer protection agency to do it, or a corporate monopoly?


RE: Don't touch my internet
By Zaranthos on 11/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: Don't touch my internet
By Kurz on 11/26/2010 4:59:09 PM , Rating: 3
Lol more often than not the government put that monopoly there in the first place.


RE: Don't touch my internet
By Solandri on 11/27/2010 2:39:53 AM , Rating: 3
Well, the FCC's job is to make sure that people play nice with each other over publicly accessible communications networks (e.g. regulate who gets to broadcast at what frequencies and at what power levels) to avoid a tragedy of the commons from playing out. It's not really their fault that municipal governments have granted local monopolies to cable and phone providers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_common...

If an ISP has a local monopoly (e.g. sole cable or DSL provider for an area), I have no problems with the FCC imposing net neutrality on them. For areas where there is competition, I'm ok with not having net neutrality. By doing it both ways, we can get some real-world data on how the two different approaches differ in terms of pricing and bandwidth increases, and make a decision about net neutrality based on hard evidence instead of theory and rhetoric.


RE: Don't touch my internet
By OUits on 11/27/2010 4:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If an ISP has a local monopoly (e.g. sole cable or DSL provider for an area), I have no problems with the FCC imposing net neutrality on them. For areas where there is competition, I'm ok with not having net neutrality.


This sounds like a good idea but I'm not sure if it's practical. How coarse is the "area"? It's not the cable company's fault that DSL has pretty limited range. The cable co's will sue instantly if they are regulated based on what comes down to DSL coverage. Under this regime will any DSL provider be required to comply with NN?

What about the speed required to be considered "broadband"? Does the data rate change based on geography? How often do we change the required connection speed for an area? How often do we reassess competitive areas? Does mobile data count?

I think defining the regions here will be extremely difficult. The FCC gets broadband stats based on zip code IIRC, which may work. There's just so much complexity, and the FCC has a poor track record when it comes to encouraging competition.


RE: Don't touch my internet
By Kurz on 11/28/2010 8:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
FCC's job should be limited to common ground of the citizenry.
In this case the Air Waves.

ISP's have their own lines, hence their own property.
Why should we regulate people what they do with their property. Unless their property directly negatively effects another party I don't like this Net Neutrality proposal.


RE: Don't touch my internet
By OUits on 11/26/2010 6:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I certainly don't trust the FCC to handle this situation effectively. After all, they put themselves into this position of non-authority by deciding not to regulate "information services" during the Computer Inquiries in the 80s. What they're trying to do now is a complete 180 degree reversal from back then.

Their actions then and now just highlight how poorly equipped the FCC is to address these issues. With chairmen effectively appointed by the President's party, and the party in power flipping all the time, there is no stable leadership. There is no consistency. Focus and policies change drastically with each swing of the political pendulum.

At the same time, since when have industry players achieved social goals with no economic incentives by themselves? =\


RE: Don't touch my internet
By Solandri on 11/27/2010 10:24:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, I certainly don't trust the FCC to handle this situation effectively. After all, they put themselves into this position of non-authority by deciding not to regulate "information services" during the Computer Inquiries in the 80s. What they're trying to do now is a complete 180 degree reversal from back then.

I have to disagree. When faced with a new technology, I think the prudent thing is to first leave it alone to see how it plays out. After a few years (or decades) when you have a pretty good handle on what types of problems tend to crop up with the technology, then you try to address those problems.

I'm not trying to justify how the FCC does stuff (like you, I'm not even sure they're the right agency for this). But I disagree that a "complete 180 degree reversal" is a necessarily a sign of duplicity or incompetence. IMHO Congress really needs to put the foot down here and pass something either authorizing the FCC or another agency to do this, or pass something saying that the government won't touch it.


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