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Lawmakers call on FCC to reclassify broadband for net neutrality

Grant Gross | Oct. 23, 2014
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should reclassify broadband as a regulated public utility in order to achieve net neutrality, but take a "light touch" while doing it, a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

Still, much of Title II, a section of the Communications Act used to regulate traditional telephone services, would not be necessary to enforce net neutrality rules, she wrote.

"Some have painted Title II as a relic of the past, suggesting that the reclassification of broadband as a common carrier service will curtail investment and tie down the nation's communications providers in heavy-handed regulation," Eshoo wrote. "I do not support heavy-handed regulation and it is not called for."

But claims that Title II "is heavy-handed are simply unfounded," she added. "The commission already has the ability to tailor the law for market circumstances, deciding when and where to forbear from certain rules when those requirements are no longer necessary to protect the public."

Broadband providers and allied groups continue to resist calls for the FCC to reclassify broadband.

Reclassification "remains a non-starter for our industry," Walter McCormick, president of telecom trade group USTelecom, said in a statement after Waxman's proposal.

The FCC doesn't have a history of forbearing from Title II regulations once they are applied, he added. Forbearing from most Title II regulations is "an enormous task that the FCC has never undertaken," he said.


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