Uncommon advocacy for common carrier broadband rules

by Steve Blum • , , ,

Consumer broadband service will be regulated as a common carrier service. Either that, or U.S. president Barack Obama is so detached from reality that he records a video pronouncement to that effect and leaves for a summit meeting in China without first making sure that his appointee – FCC chairman Tom Wheeler – has his back. In an accompanying written statement, Obama explained yesterday…

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service [as a common carrier service] under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

Wheeler, on the other hand, quickly issued his own statement – quickly, as in it wasn’t exactly a surprise – declaiming his autonomy…

As an independent regulatory agency we will incorporate the President’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding. We welcome comment on it and how it proposes to use Title II of the Communications Act.

Either Wheeler was responding with his customary disingenuousness, or he was trying to out do the president’s dissing of his Chinese hosts. He really didn’t have to say anything, after all.