Despite the fact that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s new National Broadband Plan (NBP) was praised by several Republican members of a US House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, there were also some objections raised over Chapter 4 of the plan – which has apparently left the door open for the reclassification of broadband as a common-carrier service.
The committee Republicans specified that though NBP’s Chapter 4 – which addresses broadband competition policy - does not make a particular mention of the reclassification; it suggests quite a few new regulations that can lead to the potential creation of new rules for broadband providers.
With reference to the recommendations in Chapter 4, Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, said during a subcommittee hearing: "The worst idea I've heard in years is reclassification. I don't want to regulate broadband like we regulated telephone service in the 1930s.”
Meanwhile, noting that he understood the concerns being raised over new regulations, the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski clarified to the subcommittee members that the agency was not trying to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier service, but intends looking at certain “discrete” areas where it feels competition-related problems exist.
Genachowski further added that the FCC’s key objectives are pretty clear – the commission intends developing policies which “promote investment, promote innovation, promote competition, and protect and empower consumers.”