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FCC To Protect Net Neutrality – Huge Win For Consumers

Let’s wait to see if this is true, but the Wall Street Journal says that the FCC will move to reclassify broadband services to give them a greater ability to regulate in that space, protecting their intentions to reinforce net neutrality and transform broadband access for the 21st century:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has decided to reregulate Internet lines to protect net neutrality, siding with consumer groups and Internet companies worried that Internet providers have too much power.

On Wednesday, Mr. Genachowski’s staff began briefing the FCC’s commissioners on how they will propose to regulate Internet lines under rules that were written for traditional phone networks. Some of those rules won’t be applied to Internet networks, FCC officials say, but others will be used to enforce net neutrality, or regulations that require Internet providers to treat traffic equally and not slow or block websites.

For those who haven’t been following, under the Bush Administration the FCC classified broadband under Title 1 of the Communications Act, which gave them scant and vulnerable authority to regulate against the telecoms. A recent federal court ruling, saying that the FCC couldn’t stop Comcast from blocking certain Internet traffic, showed the pitfalls of this approach. Genachowski has been wavering on reclassifying broadband under Title 2, which would give them much more authority by terming the Internet a “common carrier service.” But the article states that he made the decision to go forward with that reclassification, for the most part.

Today, Henry Waxman and Jay Rockefeller, the Chairman of the Commerce Committees in the House and Senate, wrote Genachowski asking that he “consider all viable options,” including reclassification, to ensure Internet freedom and allow the FCC to move forward with a national broadband plan.

A decision on the classification guidelines is expected to be made public shortly.

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David Dayen

David Dayen