Last week FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski presented “The Third Way: A Narrowly Tailored Broadband Framework,” an approach to reclassify broadband services in order to preserve the consensus on the FCC’s Net Neutrality role. In the wake of the Comcast ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, this third way approach would return a consensus by distinguishing broadband transmissions from broadband “computing functionality” and by tailoring Title II’s requirements so they better fit “the internet age”. You can read FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick’s detailed statement here.
The Knight Commission has called for policymakers to “maintain the national commitment to open networks as a core objective of Internet policy” and sees the “openness of networks as essential to meeting community information needs” (Recommendation 9).
As Chairman Genachowski stated:
I will ask my Commission colleagues to join me in soon launching a public process seeking comment on this narrow and tailored approach. The proceeding will seek comment regarding the Title I and Title II options discussed above, will seek input on important questions such as whether wired and wireless broadband access should be treated differently in this context, and will invite new ideas. As we move forward, my focus will be on the best method for restoring the shared understanding of FCC authority that existed before the Comcast decision and for putting in place a solid legal foundation for achieving the policy goals that benefit consumers and our economy in the most effective and least intrusive way.
Clearly, this is the start of a long public discourse. Please share your thoughts here. Does the FCC’s approach to reclassifying broadband services solve the dilemma posed by the Comcast ruling? Will this third way approach work?