FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has taken the Washington Post to task for its editorial in support of the Google/Verizon network neutrality accord. In a letter to the editor Aug. 31, Copps pointed out that the editorial had “wrongly stated” that the BitTorrent court decision meant the FCC had no authority over Internet Service Providers.
The decision was actually that the statute the FCC used to buttress that decision did not sufficiently do so, something the FCC is trying to rectify as we speak.
Copps laid the blame for the court defeat at the feet of a Bush administration that “consciously moved broadband Internet access from Title II, which would have supported the commission’s authority, to a murky place that invited court challenge.”
Copps said it was time to “put broadband back under Title II, where it belongs — and under which many smaller companies continue to offer Internet access to the public.”
The FCC is currently contemplating a Title II ‘lite” approach that Copps supports, though he would prefer that the commission be less ‘lite’ in forbearing from most Title II provisions.
But FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is also encouraging stakeholders to come up with a compromise network neutrality legislative framework that might supersede the Title II approach, which has gotten Congressional pushback.
Copps took aim at the Google/Verizon legislative framework of excluding wireless broadband from most Internet openness rules and allowing for specialized services that are delivered over broadband but not over the Internet. “The Verizon-Google plan that The Post endorsed creates a two-tiered Internet at the expense of the open Internet we now have, almost completely excludes wireless and transforms the FCC from what is supposed to be a consumer protection agency into an agent of big business,” worte Copps. “I thought we’d had enough of that. To expect big telecom and cable duopolies to protect consumers while a toothless agency stands quietly by is to expect what never was nor will be.”