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NAACP on Net Neutrality: FCC Should Use Sec. 706

The NAACP and Communications Workers of America want the FCC to use its existing Sec. 706 authority to justify new open Internet regulations that essentially recreate the success of the old ones.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed using Sec. 706 authority (insuring broadband deployment to all Americans) to buttress rules thrown out by the court, but also says he will reclassify ISPs under Title II common carrier regs if that is the only way to preserve openness, competition, innovation and investment.

In comments to the commission on its proposed new network neutrality rules, they said the FCC should follow the advice of the D.C. court. "The Court affirmed the Commission’s legal authority to ground its Open Internet rules in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, and suggested that no blocking and anti-discrimination rules based on a 'commercially reasonable' standard would be legally sound. The Commission should take this approach to protect a free and Open Internet," they said.

They did not criticize the alternative Title II approach, instead focusing on how 706 authority could and should protect openness.

"The 2010 Open Internet rules have worked to protect Internet freedom and spur job-creating investments in broadband infrastructure and Internet applications, content, services, and devices. The Commission got it right with its open Internet rules: full transparency, no blocking, and no unreasonable discrimination," they wrote. "The task before the Commission in this proceeding is to follow the D.C. Circuit Court’ s road map to put these same rules on a sound legal footing."