I was all excited when I read Monday’s Washington Post article reporting that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski intended to keep broadband services deregulated in light of the DC Circuit’s ruling in Comcast v. FCC, which held the Commission exceeded its authority in slapping Comcast on the wrists for monkeying with people’s ability to download pirated movies and other illegal content. That meant I didn’t have to worry about the FCC hanging the big ol’ albatross of shoe-horned regulation around the Internet’s neck. Instead, I was actually going to use the extra time to focus on –- ironically enough — cracking down on people’s ability to download pirated movies and other illegal content.
I guess hunting down pirates is going to have to be left to the Russian Navy for the time being, as Chairman Genachowski let it be known Wednesday that the FCC will attempt to reclassify the Internet as a telecom service, essentially Gerry-rigging the 19th century telephone paradigm to fit the Internet.
Why the turnaround? Maybe the Commission was feeling lonely, since the financial services sector is getting all the attention. Perhaps the FCC thought that Congress wouldn’t understand how important it is to start regulating a perfectly healthy market, absurd as that might seem. Or maybe there was just too much unbridled investment going on in the telecom sector. No matter what they’re thinking at the FCC, one thing is certain: Manufacturers are going to suffer as new regulation will slow down deployment of the big fat broadband pipes they need to rebuild their businesses and create jobs in this economic “recovery.”
News coverage …
- Wall Street Journal (blog), “How the FCC Plans to Regulate Internet Lines”
- Marketplace (blog), “FCC targets Internet for oversight”
- Washington Post, “FCC will seek to regulate Internet providers”
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