The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission announced he’ll try to overrule laws in two states that restrict community-owned broadband networks. Later this week, he’s expected to propose exactly what President Obama asked for last year: reclassifying the Internet under regulations known in the parlance of telecom wonks as Title II.
“In plain English, I’m asking them to recognize that for most Americans, the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life,” Obama said in November.
Big cable and phone companies warn that would stifle investment and cost consumers more, but the truth may be more complicated.
This policy shift, which the FCC is expected to vote on before the end of the month, is what many Internet companies and public interest groups say is what the commission needs to do to stop broadband companies from charging extra to get information to consumers faster. But phone and cable companies warn that Title II would be a disaster.
“These regulations that we’re talking about are public-utility-style regulations, and this industry’s moving fast,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told an industry conference in November. “And if you can’t bring new products to service at your speed, not the government’s speed, why would you ever make these investments?”