Snowe Raises Red Flags on Title II

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), a self-described longtime champion of network neutrality, is the latest legislator to raise red flags over the FCC's proposed reclassification of some broadband under some Title II regulations.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, she said that while she understands the desire to provide "fundamental protections" to Internet users, she says she has concerns about the implications of reclassification for innovation, and the possibility that future commissioners could retract the rules, leading to ambiguity that "will only exacerbate this nation's lagging global broadband rankings and technological competitiveness."

She called the chairman's proposal well intentioned but with significant drawbacks, saying the plan to forbear (not apply) most of the Title II common carrier regs (price controls, unbundling) would result in uncertainty that could "hamper or dely" infrastructure investment.

Snowe says Congress should do the heavy lifting on a new regulatory regime that ensures accessible and affordable broadband and gives the FCC "the appropriate tools" to preserve an open Internet.

While Genachowski has billed his modified Title II approach as a compromise, Snowe says updating existing laws in concert with all the stakeholders is the "only true 'middle ground.'"

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.