NCTA To FCC: No Way To Third Way

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Cable operators represented by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the Federal Communications Commission that it has no legal authority to classify any part of broadband Internet access service as a common carrier.

That came in comments to the agency on chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed "third way," in which the FCC would reclassify the transmission element of broadband under some Title II common carrier regs.

NCTA said trying to reclassify the service, which a prior FCC concluded should be regulated under the lighter-touch Title I information service classification, was "fundamentally at odds" with the nature of the Internet."

As it had before, NCTA argued that the "third way" would be a sure way to discourage investment.

"Any ambiguities in the Commission's authority should be addressed by Congress rather than through an effort to impose legacy common carrier regulation on broadband," according to NCTA.

NCTA president Kyle McSlarrow has been one of the principal figures in meetings with FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus about possible legislative solutions. But so has Markham Erickson of the Open Internet Coalition, which in its own comments said that the FCC needed to quickly adopt the "third way" approach to clarify its Internet oversight authority.

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