FCC Democrats determined to reclassify broadband

Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission say the federal court's decision regarding Comcast has renewed their resolve to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in order to enact net neutrality regulations.

"The only way the Commission can make lemonade out of this lemon of a decision is to do now what should have been done years ago: treat broadband as the telecommunications service that it is," said Michael J. Copps, the senior Democratic member of the panel. "We should straighten this broadband classification mess out before the first day of summer."

Similarly, Mignon Clyburn said the court's decision "does not change the importance of our goal."

"Indeed, we now have the kind of guidance that will enable us to develop the most effective and legally sound rules of the road to preserve Internet openness and to achieve other important goals set forth in the National Broadband Plan," she said in a statement.

Republican commissioners, however, said they were pleased by the court's decision and hope the Chairman does not try to reclassify.

"I am pleased that today’s court order makes clear that Title I of the Communications Act provides the FCC with no authority to regulate the network management practices of an Internet service provider," said Robert McDowell.  "I hope this decision will provide certainty in the marketplace and will not lead to the unnecessary classification of broadband service as a monopoly phone service under Title II of the Act.”

Meredith Attwell Baker said the court was right to limit the FCC's authority to regulate the Internet.

"The D.C. Circuit’s strong words today remind us that as an independent agency, we must always be constrained by the statute.  We stray from it at our peril," she said.

Baker added: "With regard to the substantive policy at issue in this case—net neutrality—I would oppose calls to use the court’s decision as a pretext to reclassify broadband Internet access services under monopoly-era Title II regulation."