FCC Seeks Comment on "Third Way" to Ensure its Authority Post Comcast v. FCC

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On June 17, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the legal framework it can use to regulate broadband.

The FCC’s actions in response to the feedback it receives from the NOI may have a profound impact not only on telecommunications providers, but also on internet service providers (ISPs). In the NOI, the FCC seeks comment on three specific approaches to revamping its legal framework for regulating broadband:

• Whether the FCC should maintain its “information service” classification for broadband Internet services;

• The legal and practical consequences of classifying Internet connectivity service as a “telecommunications service” to which all Title II requirements would apply; and

• The “third way” approach – under which the FCC would (1) reaffirm that Internet services should remain generally unregulated; (2) identify the Internet connectivity service that is offered as part of wired broadband Internet service (and only this connectivity service) as a telecommunications service; and (3) apply only the universal service, competition and small business opportunities, and consumer protection policies provisions of Title II to this connectivity service while forbearing from applying all other provisions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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