Uncommon Wisdom

Oct 1 2010   12:04PM GMT

Net neutrality dies in House; There’s always Title II

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif), the House sponsor of an attempt to pass legislation to direct the FCC’s decisions on net neutrality, has withdrawn the bill for lack of support. 

This ends, at least for the moment, another Congressional attempt to create telecom policy through explicit legislation. It’s not the first time bills have been dropped. Since the Telecom Act of 1996 virtually every attempt to change policy has died without coming to a vote.

I still believe that a Title II telecom services classification (regulation under the Communications Act of 1934) with reasonable wholesale rates (the Canadian model, for example) is workable, and in fact might be more logical given the range of services that are likely to migrate to IP without being part of the Internet.

IPTV and carrier voice, as well as enterprise services, fit that model. The FCC has to weave a complicated ruling to protect both the Internet and the business model for IP-converged services.  Title II is the best way to do that.

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