Free Press: Third Way Is the Right Way


"Sensible" and "limited" is how Free Press described the FCC's proposal to reclassify broadband access under Title II common carrier regulations.

The "breathless hyperbole and veiled threats" of their opposition, Free Press argued, can't obscure the fact that broadband providers are offering a service that transmits data and is clearly a telecommunications offering.

In reply comments on the FCC's so-called "third way" proposal, Free Press ticked off what it said are critical flaws in the rhetorical arguments of its opponents. Those included that they overstate the scope and impact of "limited" Title II classification.

The FCC is only planning to apply a handful (six or seven) of the Title II regs while forbearing (not applying the rest), that they overestimate its impact on investment in broadband, and that the purported legal hurdles are easily addressed and dismissed.

Free Press also argued that the FCC has "no other options" if it wants to implement its broadband policies. And implementing the national broadband plan is arguably the agency's chief priority.

"This Commission has no hope of building a sound National Broadband Plan on the failed legal experiment conducted by the previous administration," said Free Press. That experiment was the FCC's decision, upheld by the Supreme Court, that Internet access, content and applications were an inseparable and lightly regulated Title I information service.

Free Press urged the commission to stand up to what it called a "cynical, money-driven political response" to its proposal.

Even as it was filing its comments, Free Press was preparing to rally against Google and Verizon on Friday Aug. 13 for coming to an agreement on network neutrality principles that exclude wireless broadband from most openness regs and allows for managed services, which content providers could use instead of the public Internet to achieve faster speeds and more robust service.