Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TIA Lobbies Against Changes to Current Broadband Regulatory Structure

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is urging the FCC to maintain the current, long-standing regulatory status of broadband Internet access service. TIA believes that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's recent "Third Way" proposal to reclassify broadband under a new regulatory regime "would imperil American jobs as manufacturers face an uncertain regulatory climate, dampening investment in an industry that has been tapped by President Obama and Congress as a driver for economic recovery. U.S. global competitiveness would suffer, as would American consumers of broadband services and broadband-enabled technology."

TIA noted that the broadband marketplace has greatly benefited from the Commission's current (but longstanding) regulatory approach to broadband Internet service as an "information service."

"The regulatory certainty associated with Title I oversight has been a key driver in promoting a robust Internet ecosystem and in encouraging significant investment in the deployment of broadband infrastructure during the past decade," said Danielle Coffey, TIA Vice President for Government Affairs.

  • In May 2010, CC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a "Third Way" for regulating Internet traffic and services -- a new legal framework aimed at restoring the status quo consensus that existed prior to the court decision that vacated the FCC's authority to regulate the way Comcast manages peer-to-peer traffic on its network.

    Genachowski said he supports a light-touch regulatory approach that encourages investment in network infrastructure but that gives consumers "basic protection against anticompetitive or otherwise unreasonable conduct by companies providing the broadband access service (e.g., DSL, cable modem, or fiber) to which consumers subscribe for access to the Internet."

    However, the Comcast decision sharply reduces the FCC's ability to protect consumers and promote competition using its "ancillary" authority, and creates serious uncertainty about its basic oversight functions as well as its ability to pursue the broadband-related policies.