Free Press: FCC Proposal a Step Toward Correcting Powell-Era Mistakes

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Free Press: FCC Proposal a Step Toward Correcting Powell-Era Mistakes

WASHINGTON - In an interview Thursday with CNBC,
former FCC Chairman Michael Powell called Chairman Julius Genachowski’s
decision to change the way broadband services are treated under law
"the most massive expansion of regulatory authority over the Internet
ever."

But it was Powell himself in 2002 who
categorized cable internet service providers as “information services”
under Title I of the Communications Act, a move which not only put the
FCC’s ability to protect Internet users in legal limbo, but led to
America’s rapid decline as a world broadband leader. Powell is now a
spokesman for the phone and cable industry front group “Broadband for
America.”

Responding to Michael Powell’s comments, Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said:

"It was the FCC led by Michael Powell that started this mess in the
first place. In 2002, Powell said his classification move would not
leave the FCC 'neutered,' but we now see it did exactly that. FCC
Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposal is designed to correct the
mistakes of the Powell and Martin FCCs and bring the regulatory
framework back into harmony with the law.

"This is not about the FCC regulating the Internet.  Content and
applications on the Internet will remain unregulated – this is about
light-touch rules on physical access providers to protect Internet
users. Congress always intended for Internet content to be treated
differently from Internet access, and it was Powell's misguided
attempts to carry out his deregulatory agenda that resulted in the law
becoming unworkable.

"Powell's focus on Network Neutrality in yesterday’s comments is
downright disingenuous in light of the fact that there is widespread
agreement among many observers, if not among his clients, that the
Comcast case puts many key broadband policy goals on shaky ground --
including achieving universal and affordable access to broadband. If
Powell supported ‘broadband for America’ as a policy, not just a
slogan, he would welcome the reclassification of broadband proposed by
Genachowski as a necessary step toward achieving that goal."

 

###

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

Share This Article

More in: