FCC proposes a “third-way” to regulate the Internet

Responding to the recent Federal court decision striking down its so-called “net neutrality” rules, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced its revised strategy for regulating the Internet.

In a statement issued on May 6th, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a new regulatory framework for broadband Internet services.  According to Genachowski, the new framework represents a “third-way” that strikes a regulatory balance between the Commission’s current framework and a more highly regulated scenario for Internet service providers.

In brief, the framework proposed by Genachowski would tailor the requirements of Title II of the Communications Act in order to develop a precise policy for the regulation of broadband services.  Specifically, the proposed framework would implement the following changes:

  • Section 201—Require Internet service providers to charge reasonable rates;
  • Section 202—Prevent price or service  discrimination;
  • Section 208—Establish a consumer compliant process;
  • Section 222—Protect customer privacy and proprietary commercial information;
  • Section 254—Allow use of the Universal Service Fund for broadband;
  • Section 255—Ensure broadband access by the disabled.

As part of the proposed regulatory framework for the Internet, Genachowski also pledged that the Commission would not to apply to broadband service providers sections of the Communications Act that are unnecessary or inappropriate, and would put into place boundaries to prevent future regulatory overreach.

The Commission is expected to launch a process that would solicit public comment on the specific changes proposed by Genachowski.

Read the complete text of Chairman Genachowski’s statement.

A video recording of the Chairman’s presentation is available on YouTube.