FCC Calls Time Out For Title II Blogs


The Federal Communications Commission has warned anybody weighing in on the agency's blog about its planned Title II classificaion between June 10 and June 17 that they won't have their comments taken into account in deciding how to put the final touches on the high-profile item.
That is because it would fall into the seven-day sunshine period before the FCC takes action on an item during which ex parte comments and meetings about it are off limits.
Since the FCC decided it would start taking blog comments into account as official comments in its proceedings, it also has to discount them during that period.
The FCC gave that notice Thursday in announcing what everybody already knew, that it would launch its inquiry into possible legal frameworks for broadband Internet regulation " in order to promote innovation and investment, protect and empower consumers, and bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans."
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski wants to apply a handful of Title II common carrier regulations to the transmission portion of broadcband so that the FCC can clearly establish its authority over access and privacy issues and implement its natioanl broadband plan. He would leave the content and applictions portions under the lighter-touch Title II.
Since time was of the essence in the wake of the BitTorrent court decision that called the FCC's broadband regulatory authority into question, and the agency is trying to implement that national plan and codify and expand its Internet access guidelines, the commission had initially been expected to simply change the rules through a declaratory ruling combined with a declaration that it was forbearing from--not applying--all but a handful of Title II regs.
But there has been some major pushback from Congress. The plan is to open a Notice of Inquiry into the issue of classificiation, including the chairman's so-called "Third Way," as as well as doing nothing and applying all Title II regs. The industry would prefer the former, and former acting chairman and current commissioner Michael Copps would prefer the latter.