The FCC has been trying to craft a new framework for regulating broadband since a federal appeals court in April threw out its current approach, which treats broadband as a lightly regulated “information service.” The agency had argued that this approach gave it ample jurisdiction to mandate net neutrality.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected that argument. It ruled that the agency had overstepped its authority when it ordered Comcast to stop blocking subscribers from using an online file-sharing service called BitTorrent to swap movies and other big files.
With Congress making no progress to resolve this issue, several public interest groups on Sept. 29 called on Genachowski to move ahead with his proposal to reclassify broadband as a telecom service.
“The FCC must act now to protect consumers by reinstating its authority over broadband,” Gigi Sohn, president of the public interest group Public Knowledge, said in a statement. “We expect the FCC to do so to carry out one of the fundamental promises of the Obama administration.”
(Editor’s note: For our view on why net neutrality is important for the future of education, see “Opinion: Corporate policy making would result in a net loss.”)