FCC classifies Broadband over Power Line-enabled Internet access as information service

The FCC has declared Broadband over Power Line (BPL)-enabled Internet access service to be an information service. The order places BPL-enabled Internet access service on an equal regulatory footing with other broadband services, such as cable modem service and DSL Internet access service. The ruling is intended to spur competition among broadband service providers and provide consumers with more and better services at lower prices.

Specifically, the order finds that the transmission component underlying BPL-enabled Internet access service is “telecommunications,” and that the provision of this telecommunications transmission component as part of a functionally integrated, finished BPL-enabled Internet access service offering is an information service. This approach is consistent with the framework that the FCC has established for cable modem service and wireline broadband Internet access service, furthering the commission’s goal of regulating like services in a similar manner.

In reaching these determinations, the FCC provides regulatory certainty regarding the classification of this service, thereby encouraging deployment of BPL-enabled Internet access to consumers.