rep. henry waxman

Rep. Waxman Proposes A Third Approach To Net Neutrality

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As The Valley Burns Up, Boston Readies Its Next Act

3.7 million comments later, the net neutrality debate continues.

Out Friday was a letter from Rep. Henry Waxman detailing an approach that would lean on both proposed sources of governmental authority to enforce an open Internet. Rep. Waxman wants to use both Title II, and Section 706.

At issue is the fact that there exists tension between advocates of net neutrality in terms how to achieve their goals. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, when proposing his net neutrality notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), leaned on Section 706 authority. Most net neutrality diehards in the public sector favor use of Title II.

ISPs are vividly opposed to reclassification under Title II.

Rep. Waxman has an interesting proposal: Reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II, forbear the parts of Title II that have ISPs rattled, and then use expanded Section 706 authority to enforce net neutrality.

You want to know how using Title II to reclassify would help the FCC better use Section 706? Here’s the Congressman:

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Now, there will be any number of opinions, and readings of the above strategy — it may even be challenged directly in terms of its legality, let alone its practicability. But there is a certain flow to it that I find attractive.

What net neutrality rules does Rep. Waxman want? No blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization. Rep. Waxman also wants net neutrality protections to expand to wireless connections, and not merely wireline broadband.

The FCC has quite a lot to think about.

IMAGE BY FLICKR USER BENJAMIN CHAN UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN CROPPED)