Ohio supports FCC's 'Third Way'

The statement is a rare show of state support for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's controversial proposal to change the regulatory status of broadband services. The states have largely kept silent on reclassification. The statute at issue, the amended 1996 Communications Act, is a federal law.

The public utilities commission of Ohio said no matter which broadband oversight approach is eventually adopted, the framework will be contested in court.

It added that it agrees with major Internet service providers that the commission already has the authority to act on its plan to reform its "universal service" fund. The possibility that the FCC lacks this authority has been cited by the commission and some public interest advocates as a reason for reclassifying broadband.

"The Ohio Commission agrees with AT&T’s assessment that the FCC, in all probability, has the authority to provide Universal Service Fund (USF) support for broadband Internet service under its current classification of broadband service as a Title I information service by way of Sections 254 and 214 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996," the filing said.

It added that it believes Congress should act to clarify broadband rules, but that in the absence of congressional action, Genachowski's "Third Way" plan seems best.