The head of the Federal Communications Commission says proposed new rules for Internet providers are only intended to encourage competition and free-flowing Web traffic.
Whatever the intent, the plan announced by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has needlessly injected a worrisome level of economic uncertainty into one of the nation’s most thriving high-tech sectors.
Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC lacked authority to regulate the Internet. Undeterred, Genachowski said he proposed to simply reclassify broadband Internet as a "telecommunications service" rather than an "information service."
Such a move would subject broadband to certain Depression-era rules drawn up to regulate copper-wire telephone service.
Genachowski claimes he's taking a middle ground. At least for now, he says his initiative wouldn't regulate broadband rates, force providers to share lines or regulate content. But it would require that providers like AT&T or Verizon allow data to travel to subscribers without interference.
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