Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski spoke to the cable industry this morning at The Cable Show, applauding the industry for the massive capital investment made in creating broadband networks across the nation. During a conversation with NCTA President & CEO Kyle McSlarrow, Genachowski said “We wouldn’t be here talking about broadband, talking about adoption, if not for the pioneers of the cable industry.”
But the discussion quickly turned to the elephant in the room: the concept of imposing some Title II (or common carrier-type) regulations on broadband providers as envisioned in Genachowski’s recently proposed Third Way approach to broadband regulation. The FCC suggested the idea of a new model of regulating broadband service, the so-called Third Way, that it hopes addresses legal deficiencies in FCC policies as identified by a U.S. Court of Appeals decision.
Genachowski said “Nothing that’s happened in the past few weeks changes one iota the policy goals and outcomes that the Commission and I have been clearly and transparently articulating for many months now.” Genachowski said his main motive in deriving the new approach is to provide the FCC with the appropriate legal foundation for implementing the ambitious agenda spelled out in the Commission’s recently released National Broadband Plan. “That court decision [U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit in Comcast v. FCC] damaged the legal foundation underneath” the National Broadband Plan, Genachowski said, adding that “It created a problem, not one that I desire.”
Characterizing the recent announcement of the Third Way approach as a “pre-beginning” to solve the problem, Genachowski claimed that the approach is modeled on a regulatory philosophy – namely one applied to mobile voice services – that has worked for a number of years. Addressing criticisms that the FCC is yielding to certain corporate interests, particularly Google, by working so hard to regulate broadband services, Genachowski said “This issue isn’t about Google. This issue is about the next Google, the next eBay, the next Amazon. It’s about speakers that don’t want to be censored on the Internet.”
Many of Chairman Genachowski’s remarks are reflected in this post he wrote on Blogband, the blog of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.