While Clyburn said she actively supports open Internet, she described Chairman Julius Genachowski's newly proposed regulations on broadband companies as the only way to enact widely supported measures in the National Broadband Plan, which were cast in jeopardy following an April court ruling.
The FCC ultimately tapped what Chairman Julius Genachowski called a "third way" -- using a procedure called "forbearance" to pick and choose elements of Title II to apply to broadband providers. While it is less aggressive that all-out reclassification, broadband companies and telecommunication firms were nonetheless infuriated by the FCC's new plan for regulation.
Some opponents have since decried the FCC's move to rein in broadband providers as just a backdoor attempt to institute net neutrality rules, which would prevent Internet companies from discriminating against certain kinds of online traffic. But the commissioner also railed Tuesday on those who have sought to conflate those two debates in an effort to stir opposition to the FCC's plans.
"At the outset, it must be made absolutely clear that the issue of reclassification goes far beyond our open-Internet proceeding," said Clyburn, a Democratic member of the commission who signaled early support for Genachowski. "It involves some of the most important parts of our National Broadband Plan."
"Without reclassification, the road to achieving each of these issues is laden with landmines and is likely to fail."
The commission has no plans to "takeover the Internet," nor does it hope
to impose new, burdensome rules on broadband providers, she added. Rather, the FCC only hopes to restore
the rules "that almost everyone assumed we had" before a federal court
ruled in April that the FCC's means of enforcing them were not legally
sound, Clyburn said.