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The Federal Communications Commission moved ahead yesterday on developing its “third way” approach to governing broadband. The Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to “move toward giving itself the authority to regulate the transmission component of broadband Internet service, a power the commission’s majority believes is central to expanding the availability of broadband,” according to the New York Times.
The Commission’s intentions are exempt broadband from most regulation, but maintaining those powers necessary “to implement fundamental universal service, competition and market entry, and consumer protection policies.” The FCC is soliciting public comments on this proposal.
This regulatory mumbo-jumbo does have some impact on rural areas. According to CNET.com, the FCC “believes it will give the agency the necessary authority to move forward with proposals laid out in the National Broadband Plan, such as reforming the Universal Service Fund to expand its use for subsidizing broadband services in rural and low-income areas.”
The major providers (Verizon and AT&T) object to the FCC’s direction. They say the FCC’s intervention will slow rollout of broadband to under-served areas.