FCC Broadband Plan Prompts GOP, Industry Backlash

By: Chloe Albanesius, PC World

Thursday’s broadband proceeding at the Federal Communications Commission has prompted another congressional challenge.

Shortly after the commission announced a public comment period on its “third way” to regulate broadband, Rep. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said he would soon introduce a bill that would reform the FCC and guard against unnecessary taxation and regulation of the Internet and other media services.

DeMint’s “Consumer Choice Act” is based on a bill he introduced in 2005, which would “reform the FCC into a market-based, antitrust-style framework, using an ‘unfair competition’ standard” similar to the model at the Federal Trade Commission. It would also require timelines for FCC regulatory decisions and put a five-year expiration date on any regulations, unless the FCC chooses to renew them.

DeMint accused the FCC taking the “first step of an Internet takeover and tax that will harm consumers.”

The FCC voted Thursday to open a public comment period on the commission’s role in broadband regulation.

The “third way” plan, proposed by Chairman Julius Genachowski in early May, would narrowly reclassify the transmission of data as a telecommunications service that the agency could directly regulate, balanced by a hands-off approach to other aspects.

The move came after the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in April that the FCC had no right to hand down a 2008 enforcement action against Comcast for the alleged blocking of peer-to-peer sites like BitTorrent.

To read more, visit: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2365302,00.asp

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