Comcast won its court battle with the Federal Communications Commission, but the fight between the telecom giant and the FCC for hearts and minds on net neutrality rages on in the public sphere.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Thursday proposed a “Third Way” for the regulatory agency to regulate broadband communications services that would promote net neutrality, the principle that Internet Service Providers or governments should not be allowed to restrict or purposefully degrade the flow of certain communications between parties on the Internet.
In the Comcast decision, a U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s argument for “ancillary” authority to regulate Internet communications despite not having clear and direct authority to do so under its charter.
Genachowski’s “Third Way” would eschew either flouting the court’s opinion -- probably a good idea -- or “reclassifying” Internet communications as a “telecommunications services” and putting it under the FCC’s existing regulatory purview.
Instead, Genachowski wants to cut open the Internet and call certain parts of it by different names. The FCC’s “narrow and tailored approach” would “recognize the transmission component of broadband access service -- and only this component -- as a telecommunications service” and thus under the commission’s Title II regulatory purview for broadband.
Sound like a decent compromise? Not according to Joseph Waz, senior vice president for external affairs at Comcast. Waz, speaking at a conference at Stanford University, said Genachowski’s proposal “ultimately opens the door to the entire heavy burden of regulation,” according to CNET.