FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is pushing ahead with a plan that would reclassify broadband providers as public utilities.
Speaking Wednesday at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Wheeler said there were many benefits for consumers in reclassifying ISPs under Title II.
Wheeler’s plan hinges on conditions that would exempt broadband providers from aniquated regulations inlcuded in the Telecommunications Act.
Wheeler suggested that there is a “right way to do Title II,” and that there were many things in Title II that are wrong from investment.
CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker called comparisons to the regulatory framework for mobile voice “misplaced and irrelevant.”
Attwell Baker said that Congress had defined categories like Title II, as well as categories outside of Title II for other services like mobile voice and broadband. “The Chairman cannot now use that same deregulatory tool to extend regulation and government intrusion where it has never been before,” she wrote. “As the courts have made clear, a properly-crafted Section 706 approach could withstand judicial scrutiny and not run afoul of Congress’ explicit directive under Section 332.
Wheeler’s remarks come after President Obama back in November urged the FCC to reclassify ISPs under Title II.
Verizon has been levied the most vocal opposition to the possiblity. During an investment conference on Tuesday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam called the Title II reclassification “siliness” and argued that “other than a political move it just doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s a bad idea and it will have a lot of unintended consequences,” McAdam said.
Filed Under: Industry regulations