In a filing at the FCC, Allbritton
Communications -- which owns TV stations, the Politico newspaper, a regional
cable news channel, and their associated Web sites (in this case particularly
those Web sites) -- says FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's
"third way" proposal is the right way.
"After careful review and consideration of
Chairman Genachowski's proposal for the ‘Third Way,' Allbritton finds
it to be a reasoned and enforceable framework that will prevent abuses on wired
and mobile Internet, and is pleased to support it," said the company.
The "third way" was the chairman's
proposal to reclassify broadband transmission as a common carrier service under
a handful of those regulations as a way to clarify its broadband oversight
authority and expand and codify its Internet openness principles.
Allbritton told the commission that with
more people accessing its news and information online, an open Internet is
vital, and that mobile access to that content is key to its future plans.
"An Internet controlled by gatekeepers with
incentives to favor their own content - a very real possibility without the
FCC's intervention - would have stymied past growth, and may very well stunt
wired and mobile Internet innovation far into the future should broadband
providers be left entirely unregulated," the company argues. "This
situation would be exacerbated where carriers also provide competitive program
Allbritton did not mention Comcast/NBCU, but
it has been arguing at the FCC that the deal would pose a threat because of the
potential for Comcast to favor its Web sites over politico.com
or TBD.com, the site that hosts content from its WJLA Washington and News
Channel 8 video offerings.
"Carriers will have the opportunity and the
means to favor that content owned by the carrier or offered by carrier-business
partners all while slowing down or entirely blocking speech they find
competitive for any reason," Allbritton said in support of the
"third way." "Without the FCC's intervention, wireless
and wireline distributors will be capable of single-handedly controlling
the modern news cycle."
It was the FCC's smackdown of Comcast over
blocking BitTorrent peer-to-peer file transfers that prompted the Title II
reclassification proposal after a federal court threw out that decision as
insufficiently supported in law.