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Web Could be Reclassified as Utility, Tech Group Finds
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The Internet Association has explained how the FCC could categorize the Internet as a utility.

Summary: An Internet advocacy group has stated that the Federal Communications Commission would legally be able to reclassify the Internet as a utility.

According to The Hill, a trade group that represents large technology companies stated that the Federal Communications Commission could legally reclassify the Internet as a public utility.


The group, the Internet Association, explained that changes in the perception of the Internet and last year’s court decision striking down former open Internet rules would give the FCC the justification it needs to make changes, in turn allowing the FCC to enforce stricter regulations.

Read about President Barack Obama’s position on net neutrality.

The Internet Association represents Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Netflix, and many more. It said that the FCC should only enforce a few of the sections of authority that would come with reclassifying broadband Internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

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Michael Beckerman, the chief executive of the Internet Association, said in a filing Tuesday, “The undersigned believe that of the 48 sections of the Title II, only a few may need be applied to broadband Internet access service to preserve an open Internet.”

The Internet Association also explained that since consumers see the Internet as a “gateway for accessing content,” as opposed to an “integrated part of a bundle of information services,” reclassification would be further justified. New rules would fix any gaps left in the FCC’s ability to protect online consumers after courts have “twice undercut that Commission’s effort to do so,” the group said.

The FCC announced new rules in April. 

According to the Internet Association, only Sections 201, 202, and 208 of the updated authority should apply. These cover the prohibition of service providers from implementing “unjust or unreasonable discrimination,” and provide a method to file complaints with the FCC.

In February, the FCC will vote on new net neutrality rules that will prevent Internet service providers from either blocking or slowing traffic to websites, and will ban companies from negotiating for faster service. President Barack Obama, as well as other advocates, have encouraged the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a utility, as they feel it is the only way to prohibit “fast lanes” on the Internet. Further, they have also requested that the commission avoid enforcement of many regulations that will come with reclassification.

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The FCC has not yet released its newest proposal. The Republican Party and many service providers have fought against reclassification, and have threatened litigation over the new rules.

Last January, an appeals court struck down the commission for the second time in four years, causing the commission to update their rules.

Read about that decision here.

Photo credit: Wikipedia



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