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Sources: FCC Will Apply Barriers To Entry Reporting Requirements In Broadband Reclassification

According to sources, the FCC will add a seventh section to the Title II regulations it plans to apply to broadband transmission, one that requires it to report to Congress about possible barriers to minorities and women.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced Thursday (May 27) that the commission plans to vote on a notice of inquiry into reclassifying broadband as a Title II service at its June 17 meeting, including forbearing (not applying) all but seven of a total of 48 provisions. Initially it had talked about applying only six sections that would clarify its authority to "implement fundamental universal service, competition, and consumer protection policies," including implementing the national broadband plan and expanding and codifying its internet access guidelines.

Several sources say there will be a seventh provision the commission will not apply. That is section 257 of Title II, which deals with collecting data for a report to Congress on "market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the provision and ownership of telecommunications services and information services." The section was being billed as a "civil rights" provision by minority media seeking its inclusion in the "third way," including the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council.

"We are glad they are not forbearing," said David Honig, MMTC president. "But the decision on what is to be forborn or not forborn is a moving target. Even a well-intentioned administration made this mistake. What would a less well-intentioned agency do. What this teaches us is that Congress needs to step in and pass a law that spells out what the ground rules are going to be, not just on forbearance but on broadband regulation in general."