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Unread 05-03-2010, 07:46 AM   #1
GNG News Guy
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Default Genachowski Likely To Leave Broadband 'Deregulated' - Meet the new boss...


The FCC had three choices after a court ruled they lacked the authority to sanction Comcast for throttling customers (and lying about it). One, they could turn to Congress to pass a law to extend the FCC's legal authority -- an uphill battle given the incumbent carriers' political influence on Congress. Two, he could reclassify broadband ISPs -- something that's also an uphill battle given ISPs have promised to fight the FCC in court. Three, he could do nothing -- taking the politically safe road and make a significant show of accomplishing the FCC's already modest agenda.

In reality, all three options end with the incumbent broadband providers complaining, firing up their lawyers any time the FCC tries to do anything, and insisting that a broadband utopia is forged with no empowered government watchdog at the helm. We had the feeling it was going to be option three, given the FCC had already made clear its distaste for tough fights that could be ugly politically against rather powerful campaign contributors (and part-time NSA analysts). According to the Washington Post, FCC boss Julius Genachowski seems poised to decide what to do -- namely, nothing:FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to respond soon to the court ruling. Three sources at the agency said Genachowski has not made a final decision but has indicated in recent discussions that he is leaning toward keeping in place the current regulatory framework for broadband services but making some changes that would still bolster the FCC's chances of overseeing some broadband policies.
Genachowski apparently believes that reclassifying carriers would "deter investment." That's something that carriers repeatedly claim about all regulation -- regardless of what said regulation accomplishes -- though consumer advocates have argued (pdf) that regulation plays only a small role in network investment. What plays a much larger role? Competition, something the FCC's broadband plan doesn't really address.
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