Swing vote Copps reiterates Title II support

Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Michael Copps reiterated his support for regulating broadband service under Title II of the Communications Act, the framework governing telephones, in a speech on Thursday night in New York.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski prefers the lighter-touch regulations of Title I, proposing to use this basis to underpin a net-neutrality plan he announced on Wednesday.

But Genachowski needs to win Copps' vote if he wants to pass his plan. Copps will have three weeks to urge Genachowski to strengthen the proposal.

In his speech on Thursday, Copps reiterated what he wants to see in a sound net-neutrality proposal: strong wireless rules, restrictions on paid prioritization and managed services, and a solid legal foundation.

Those are the same areas where the public interest community says Genachowski's plan falls short.

Key parts of Copps' speech:

"These rules must be put on the most solid possible legal foundation and be quickly and effectively enforceable. If this requires reclassifying advanced telecommunications as Title II telecommunications—and I continue to believe this is the best way to go—we should just do it and get it over with."

"So-called 'managed services' and 'paid priority' cannot be allowed
to supplant the quality of the public Internet service available to us all."

"As people cut their wired connections, why would we deny them
openness, accessibility and consumer protections in the wireless world? The
implementation of such rights may need to vary a bit depending upon the
technology platform—but the principle must stand."

"Internet freedom also means protecting consumers by implementing non-discrimination and
transparency rules at the FCC. These rules must be put on the most solid
possible legal foundation and be quickly and effectively enforceable."

“'Reasonable network management' practices must never be allowed to cloak
competitive one-upmanship. And citizens are entitled to an official venue—
the FCC—with access to the arcania of engineering data so we can determine
whether, in a given case, it is reasonable for someone to be denied the full
potential of the Internet and with power to put a stop to it if it is not."