If Necessary, May Urges Agency to Use Forbearance Authority
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Even if Monday’s U.S. Court of Appeals decision requiring the Federal Communications Commission to regulate cable modem services as ‘telecommunications services’ (thus mandating facilities-sharing with competitors at regulated rates) were correct, the FCC should not break step in its march toward real competition in the digital channel marketplace.
That is the view of Randolph J. May, senior fellow and director of communications policy studies at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, who is urging the FCC to make use of forbearance authority provided in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, if necessary, pending reversal of the court’s decision.
“The Commission should not allow the Ninth Circuit‘s panel decision to prevent it from proceeding promptly to do whatever is necessary to ensure that cable broadband services are free from traditional common carrier regulation,” May said. “Even if the Ninth Circuit’s legally questionable interpretation concerning the classification of cable modem services were correct, the FCC has authority under the 1996 Act, and already has compiled a sufficient record, to forbear from regulating broadband services. In light of the competitive nature of the services, the agency should exercise such authority without delay.”
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.