FCC votes to regulate the internet
Feds seek guaranteed government access and overriding management of local, regional and national internet communications for ‘national security and safety’ efforts
by Pinedale Online!
October 22, 2009
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously on Thursday, Oct. 22, to support government legislation to regulate telecom network operators that provide wired and wireless broadband services over the internet. The proposed rule now goes to the public for comment. The public comment period is open until January 14th. The FCC will then review the feedback and possibly seek more comment. A final rule may be reached in the spring of 2010.
The proposed new regulations include wording to give government the power and control to have guaranteed access and overriding management over residential users trying to access and communicate over the internet at the local, regional and national levels for "national security and safety" response efforts or emergency communications.
Under the "Public Safety and Homeland and National Security" (section 145, pages 52 & 53), the proposed rulemaking states, "In connection with a local, regional, or national emergency, federal, state, tribal, and local public safety entities; homeland security personnel; and other appropriate governmental agencies may need guaranteed access to reliable communications over the Internet in order to coordinate disaster relief and other response efforts, or for other emergency communications. Guaranteeing quality of service for these purposes may be critically important to our national security and safety. For example, during a public health emergency, increased absenteeism and utilization of teleworking would likely increase the number of users seeking to access the Internet from numerous discrete points (e.g., residences). The performance of essential functions could be impeded by unmanaged network congestion resulting from this change in usage patterns."
Click on the links below to read the Notice of Proposed Rule Making, news release and staff presentation. Go to the FCC website for additional information and links related to the FCC’s decision to regulate the internet, www.fcc.gov. Word doc files are available at this website for the documents below.
Commission Seeks Public Input on Draft Rules to Preserve the Free and Open Internet. Notice of Proposed Rule Making (107 page PDF): http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-09-93A1.pdf
FCC News Release (3 page PDF): http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-294159A1.pdf
Staff Presentation: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-294152A1.pdf