Comcast Willing To Explore Workable 'Third Way' To Internet Regulation

Comcast said it would be willing to explore Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal for a "third way" approach to Internet regulation.

Comcast said in a May 6 statement that it would work with the commission to determine "if" there was a way to allow the FCC to take limited measure to preserve Internet openness and the broadband plan, but "cast the kind of regulatory cloud that would chill investment and innovation by ISPs."

The chairman is proposing applying selected portions of Title II telecommunications service regulation on the net, while forbearing (not applying) other parts, which he Thursday called a compromise between the current regulatory uncertainty and the too heavy hand of a full Title II reclassification.

That regulatory uncertainty stemmed from a decision by a federal appeals court overturning the FCC's smack down of Comcast over its network management/blocking of BitTorrent uploads, which the FCC concluded was out of bounds. The court said the FCC had not justified its authority to make that call.

But while Comcast said it was willing to hear the FCC out, it also said it believed that the existing Title I classification of broadband as a more lightly-regulated information service "gives the commission sufficient authority to implement both key goals of the National Broadband Plan and reasonable rules to preserve an open Internet."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.