FCC open meeting to take up NOI on nationwide broadband authority

The FCC is due to take up at its next open meeting June 17 a Notice of Inquiry to explore possible legal frameworks under which the commission can promote nationwide broadband Internet service.

The inquiry was prompted by an April court ruling in which a panel of appellate judges said the commission exceeded its authority when it ordered Comcast to stop interfering with customer access to peer-to-peer file sharing services.

According to a commission statement, the NOI will seek comment on several questions, including:

  • The legal soundness of the FCC’s classification of broadband Internet service as an “information service” and if it is adequate to meet commission responsibilities;
  • The consequences of classifying broadband connectivity as a “telecommunications service,” making it subject to all of the requirements of Title II of the Communications Act; and
  • The possibility of reaffirming the Internet remains unregulated and Internet-based information services remain unregulated under Title I of the Communications Act, holding that Internet connectivity service as part of a wired service is a telecommunications service, and forbearing from applying all Title II provisions other than the ones needed to implement universal service, competition and consumer protection policies.

The NOI also will seek comment on the appropriate classification of terrestrial wireless and satellite broadband Internet services.