Monday, May 17, 2010

NY Times explains the significance of "broadband classification" with respect to authority of FCC to regulate it

The New York Times has an important editorial today (Monday May 17), “Broadband and the F.C.C.”, link here.

The editorial maintains that the Bush administration had classified broadband as an “information channel” for the “purpose of freeing it from regulation.” That means that broadband is conceived of as involved in delivering actual content and therefore should not be regulated (or censored) by government but should adhere to the free market.

However, the FCC wants to claim that broadband service is more like a plug-in utility, like telephone. The Times advertises that the real broadband backbone is controlled by only a few corporations, reducing the effect of competition in many less populated parts of the U.S., and that Americans pay more for broadband than do many in Europe or many parts of Asia (such as Japan and South Korea).

The Times also questions the wisdom of Comcast’s questioning the authority of the FCC to regulate broadband under its previous definition.

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