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FCC Moves to Expand Role in Broadband

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FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker

Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker voted against the proposed change.

Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to begin the process of giving the agency more authority to regulate broadband Internet service. The FCC wants to overturn a 2002 commission ruling that designated broadband transmission as a lightly regulated service and instead classify it as a telecommunications service, which is more strictly regulated. The FCC believes the change is necessary to expand the availability of the Internet, but opponents say it would give the agency the power to regulate Internet service rates.

However, the FCC says that as part of the reclassification, it intends to exempt broadband service from most of the regulatory options it has under the stricter designation, keeping only those that are necessary "to implement fundamental universal service, competition and market entry, and consumer protection policies."

The FCC began reconsidering its broadband regulation policies in April after a federal appeals court invalidated the commission's ability to require that Internet service providers not discriminate. "Let’s not pretend that the problems with the state of broadband in America don't exist," says FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

From The New York Times
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