The Third Way Backstory Hinges on Courts Comcast Decision

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-06-17 Print this article Print


Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel Richard Whitt voiced Google's support for the third way June 17: "Broadband infrastructure is too important to be left outside of any oversight."

Experts say the issue appears bound to drag out in court, which is familiar ground for this clash of ideologies and politics.

Genachowski and his administration suggested the third way after a court ruled April 6 that the FCC did not have the authority to order Comcast to stop throttling BitTorrent traffic and that Comcast could regulate Internet traffic over its own system.

The FCC in 2008 had complained that Comcast and other Internet providers must treat content that traverses their pipes equally. Comcast took the FCC to the court and won, with the court claiming the FCC had overstepped its boundaries.

Comcast's victory dealt a blow to the National Broadband Plan, according to the FCC. The agency said the Comcast ruling impeded plans to accelerate broadband access and adoption in rural America and connect low-income Americans, among other recommendations.   

The third way aims to bring the power back to the FCC, which said today that public comments on the matter will accepted until July 12. Reply comments are slated for Aug. 12.

Reuters noted that the FCC will digest information collected from public comments to determine how to regulate broadband Internet access.

"A formal proposal could include another public comment period and a rule in which the five commissioners would accept or reject with a vote. Or it could skip the proposal and say it will regulate broadband under existing phone regulations. That could happen this year."

The FCC rule would in turn pave the way for the National Broadband Plan.



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