Federal Communications Commission

Vote to Adopt the Broadband Framework Notice of Inquiry

June 17th, 2010 by Christopher Killion

At its public business meeting today, the FCC voted to adopt the Broadband Framework Notice of Inquiry (NOI). This NOI launches an open proceeding through which the agency will seek public comment on issues related to the future of broadband in America.

The NOI seeks input on the best legal framework to apply to broadband Internet services—such as cable modem and telephone company DSL services—in order to promote competition, innovation, and investment in broadband services; to protect consumers; and to implement important aspects of the National Broadband Plan.  A decision in April by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Comcast Corp. v. FCC raised serious questions about the Commission’s ability to rely on its current legal framework—which treats broadband Internet service as solely an “information service”—when moving forward on these policy objectives.

The NOI asks questions about three approaches in particular, while also inviting new ideas.  First, the NOI seeks comment on how the Commission could most effectively perform its responsibilities within the current information service classification.  Second, the NOI asks for comment on the legal and practical consequences of classifying Internet connectivity as a “telecommunications service” to which all the requirements of Title II of the Communications Act (the provisions that apply to telephone-type services) would apply.  Finally, the NOI invites comment on a third way modeled on the successful “Regulatory Treatment of Mobile Services” set out in the Communications Act. Under this third way approach, the Commission would: (i) reaffirm that Internet information services should remain generally unregulated; (ii) identify the Internet connectivity service that is offered as part of wired broadband Internet service (and only this connectivity service) as a telecommunications service; and (iii) forbear under authority Congress provided in the Communications Act from applying all provisions of Title II other than the small number that are needed to implement fundamental universal service, competition, and consumer protection policies that have received broad support. 

The NOI also seeks comment on the appropriate classification of wireless broadband Internet services, as well as on other discrete issues, including the states’ role with respect to broadband Internet service.  The NOI does not contemplate a change in the Commission’s treatment of, or authority over, Internet content, applications, or services.

The Broadband Framework NOI commences a thorough, objective examination of a topic that is being debated in the pages of the press, in the blogosphere, and at industry conferences.  We look forward to hearing your views. 

Cross-posted to The Official FCC Blog.

30 Responses to “Vote to Adopt the Broadband Framework Notice of Inquiry”

  1. KateisAwesome says:

    There are more important things that we, as Americans, could be spending our money on, besides the regulation of the internet. What about more money for public schools or programs for the benefit of our children? Think about it FCC.

  2. sridhara says:

    I live in Northern Arizona now and would like some of the quality of service that I have for years subsidized when I live and worked in Phoenix. Included in my phone bill was a charge for rural telecommunications that never happened.
    Now in Phoenix broadband is at 40M download as a 'give' away and the best I can get is 1Meg for a fortune by satellite and still have no land lines available and cellular service at best is still a 4 mile drive to a hill top.
    This is America and I can't see why if I don't live in a major urban area service is not available yet. Third world countries have better broadband services than we do.
    We need to get our perspectives realigned as to what still needs to be achieved and what our priorities should be.

  3. incognita says:

    I am a private citizen who would really like to make a public comment on this. However, I have searched through the FCC site as well as here and have been unable to determine exactly how to do it via the FCC'S ECFS/Express system. I've tried searching by the Docket number (10-127) and the Notice of Inquiry number (FCC 10-114).

    Can you walk me through the public commenting process for this issue?

  4. Guest says:

    Big Government stay away from broadband regulation of any kind!! Your track record stinks!! Lock at the gulf.. The Government regulators took booze, sex,and gifts and We got the environmental disaster. The SEC was suppose to watch the markets and banks and what didi we get, the biggest financial crisis ever, the biggest Potzie scream ever. On and on, the Government's track record sucks and speaks for its self!!

    My recommendation is for the Government to keep its hands off and leave things as they are!! IT IS WORKING..WE DO NOT NEED THE GOVERNMENT TO SCREW IT UP!

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    Broadband should be classified as a "telecommunications service" because it is rapidly becoming the main infrastructure for communication, knowledge distribution and social change. I am sure that even internet service providers agree on the extreme importance of broadband for our society today and in the future. To leave something so critical to the future development of the American and global society with minimal regulation gives far too much power to wealthy stakeholders. Information should be seen as the corollary of our inalienable right to free speech. Not protecting free, open and transparent access to information is to fail to protect the necessary foundation of a thriving democracy, especially in a world that is rapidly changing. It would also damage the economic productivity of small businesses, historically the engine of Capitalism and innovation and American prosperity, because we now live in the age of the knowledge based economy. Citizens must have unhindered access to information if they are going to make political, economic and ethical decisions that further the interest of themselves, their Country and their world. As old information media, such as magazines and newspapers and even television, begin to fold due to broadband internet's increasing use, we cannot deny that the internet is the medium that will shape our future. Net neutrality is the only way to ensure that each American has the ability to make their own destiny gaining and disseminating knowledge on the internet. Not regulating the internet to enforce net neutrality would be a great blow to individual liberty in America and the world, today and tomorrow.

  6. Guest says:

    Internet access has expanded to its current extent with minimal government interference. Currently the network provides a robust platform for business, information, entertainment and other content. My preference is for limiting government control to ensuring competition and providing consumer protection only. Mandating universal service places unfair burdens on those providers that exist in sparsely populated areas.

    CF Yankovich

  7. Terence McGinnis says:

    I think Internet should fall under the same regulations that are used on phone services.

  8. Pat Richmond says:

    No to Govt. takeover of the internet.

    You think that you this Fed. Gov't. needs to run everything and everyone. We are tired of big Gov't. this is just another way to circumvent the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. We don't want you in our business and control of our internet.


  9. Maurice Storie says:

    Isn't it true that the FCC originally had jurisdiction over everything that travelled over the phone lines, information or not? Didn't that get separated out somehow, in the early computer years. I think that's true. So the FCC voluntarily removed itself from information services a while ago. Now it's time to restore that oversight. This isn't about govt. taking over the Internet. It's about govt. defending the open Internet against companies that want to limit it so they can charge extra for what people want.

  10. Guest says:

    People who say the Third Way legal framework amounts to a "government takeover" of the Internet either have not read the proposal or are not able to see the important distinctions being made. No one has suggested that the FCC should regulate Internet content or applications. Instead, the FCC is talking about light regulation of certain business practices related to certain parts of the physical infrastructure involved. DSL service and wireless service have both been wildly successful; the Third Way proposal would (in essence) regulate all forms of Internet access services in a similar manner.

  11. Stephen Gillespie says:

    A couple of commenters here sound like "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"

    1. The Internet was created by the federal government. It was an experimental network for scientists in different federal labs to exchange information. The whole way it was designed makes it easy for new networks to connect and communicate, and for information to travel across networks even when a network element in the middle is out of order or even trying to stop traffic going between one point and another (like censorship).

    2. Private information services like Compuserve and AOL did everything they could to keep you inside their walled garden. You couldn't even send email to someone who used another service! That's the best private companies can ever do. It's not that they're evil. They're just trying to make as much money as possible. You can't make money if your customers are communicating with someone else's customers, or watching videos on someone else's network.

    I want to make sure that private companies never get the power to control what I see or who I can communicate with. The government -- the FCC in this case -- is the only way I can think of to limit what big business can do.

  12. Guest says:

    I have been unable to find an areas to make public comment on this issue - I would like to. I am a private citizen who feels the FCC should stay out of internet regulation. The internet is self regulating and does not need a tax, a policy, or further restrictions. Stay out of internet regulation.

  13. Little Guy says:

    Nothing the government runs works right. Currently the internet works. Leave it alone. This is nothing more than another power grab by this current adminstration. Do something productive for the people - get to work "plugging the hole" in the ocean that is really something that needs the government's attention!

  14. Craig says:

    Concerned Citizen, you are truly blind, if you think for one second that Government will protect your right to speak. Sure, President Obama may seek to protect free speech for his friends, but what about Republicans? Don't you think they will then want to control the internet in their favor when they take over, eventually? This freedom is far too precious to trust to power-mad politicians, both Republicans and Democrats.

    I happen to have Comcast broadband, and am quite satisfied with the service they provide. If, for some reason, they stop providing great service, I can choose from 3 or 4 other providers, and I'm not in a Metro area. Truly free market is the best solution, government *always* makes things slower, more expensive, and less efficient, no matter who is running it.

    If I may quote Benjamin Franklin: "Those who are willing to trade their liberty for security deserve neither, and will lose both". Governments, throughout history, have been the most pervasive purveyors of tyranny, and nearly exclusively so. Notice, there is no easy-to-find link to comment on this Notice of Inquiry. In dealing with Comcast, they are available to me 24/7, and have not once failed to provide immediate answers and solutions when I've contacted them. Think about whether your contacts with the government at all levels have been so helpful. I believe your response would be a derisive snort. Ha!

  15. Joe S says:

    In the name of helping a few in rural areas, this broadband plan will punish the majority that are satisfied with their service. More government control is not the answer when broad reaching control is their solution. The FCC did a study on broadband services, most were satisifed and the numbers even looked at it from a racial and ethnic prospective so unfairness was ruled out. The vast majority is satisifed! Passing more regulations and rules will be counter to the Constitution's intent of limited government... Leave it alone.

  16. Guest says:

    We live in Jamestown, Colorado and the only so called high speed is Wild Blue satellite or Hughes Satellite. This is very slow compared to DSL. The telephone company here is Qwest and they have not put in DSL in our canyon. So if it ever does become available we would like to have it have the same rules that are enforced as the Radio Spectrum is. We need over-site because a the local level it doesn't exist. The State of Colorado (Our PUC) doesn't regulate it and we need to have it done on the National level. We need to tell Qwest that if they supply broadband they also have to provide it to the areas outside the big city's. We are 20 miles from Boulder and do not high speed available. We have no cable available.

  17. Pall says:

    Net neutrality is essential. Big Telecoms and their well paid Washington Lobbyst's are misleading the public by saying this Internet regulation. The real question is, whom do you want to regulate your Internet rights? Giant Telecom and Cable Companies, all of us will loose in the end.

    Also read misleading information published by the same folks about innovation and job loss. Guess what, Telecom innovation happened after AT&T monopoly was broken up and when people got the right to hook their own telephone.

    Where and how did the Internet come from? Not from the big telecom's and cable companies but from innovators outside of both industries.

    Cable companies have changed their TV packages every year to get more money from you. If net neutrality is not passed, the same companies will sell you access to various content for price. Your right to view what you want to view and which web sites you will be able to access for price. Just like your Cable TV, you will pay for packages.

    Has anyone thought about why Comcast and others control HD TV and insist on you renting set-top box? There is absolutely no Technical reasons whatsoever. Every HD TV on the market has QUAM tuner built in and can tune to any channel on the basic and enhanced basic package but Comcast won't let you. Similar things will happen without net neutrality and FCC control.

  18. Guest says:

    So typical of Alphabet Soup Agency bureaucracy...they open an issue for public comment, but NO WHERE do they state how or where to make that comment. I can't wait to see how they screw up the internet. We've got to vote these elitist, socialist, central-planners out. That is, if they haven't already gerrymandered the electoral system so we can't.

  19. Guest says:

    Hands off the internet. It is self regulating and doesn't need any government control!

  20. Mike Riley says:

    If ISPs collected micropayments similar to how telephone companies collect for long distance phone calls, online content and incentives for content delivery would radically change.

    Consider how the long distance telephone network is supported by micropayments; the subscriber pays an access fee (to have a phone) and gets local calls (i.e., content) for free, but pays by the minute (or bit) for higher value, long distance calls. The local telephone company records the calling party, the called party, the number of minutes and the date and time of day. The revenue is shared by all of the telephone companies that are involved in connecting the call.

    There is no material reason why an ISP couldn’t record bandwidth usage per subscriber and per site visited, and share the revenue with the other ISPs and the content providers.

  21. thamesl says:

    Reply to "Guest at June 18 at 10:40 am"

    Yes, and look at how well de-regulation of the banking industry worked! need to read your history...the government regulated the railroads and telephone industries when they were 'new'...

    How was the governments 'track' record in those cases? And note after the technologies 'matured' then came de-regulation.

    I want the biggest pipe for the lowest cost from a list of competive providers. Wireless and Land. For everyone. City and Rural. I don't need any 'services' from my provider, I will choose those services myself.

    I do not 'trust' the AT&T's, Verizon's, Comcast's, etc... to 'deliver' what is in 'my' best interest. Perhaps I would with more competition.

  22. Andrew says:

    I am for small government. Make Internet more competitive by keeping government out and allowing me to have more than one choice for internet provider. It's a complete monopoly. Allow any service provider to supply any house hold and that will bring prices down and allow competition. OMG! is this a capitalist society? Make it one!

  23. Wendy says:

    I am against the FCC regulating the internet. Reclassifying the internet as telecommunications is just a sneaky was of circumventing a court decision (which the FCC lost). If the courts say NO, why should we the public say yes. I vote against the FCC regulating the internet.

  24. Guest says:

    I agree that Broadband should be classified as a "telecommunications service", because that's exactly what it is. Now more than ever internet access is vital in order to function in modern society and we in the US have been relying on the ISPs to provide this capability. So far their record as far as looking out for the public interest is dismal and in the US we have some of the slowest, most inaccessible internet on the planet. First they are gouging us with outlandish fees and prices, then they cherry pick the more plum portions of the economic community by putting the best technology in the best neighborhoods. The ISPs whine about this stifling their business when the very opposite is true. Because of the standard business models for the telecommunication industry, vast areas of the population are missing out on the internet because they do not have service in their regions. A comprehensive regulation policy would insure that all areas are served competitively and internet access would be dramatically expanded.

  25. Guest says:

    In my area in Phelan, CA and the one landline company is Verizon there is no Cable companies and Verizon have a Small amount of DSL slots and they have been full since Oct 2009 and they don't want to update there network so I am on Dial-up because I can't afford Satellite internet"around $80" and Phone line"$70". Since Oct. 2009 people that moved to the area can only get 3G, Satellite, Dial-up internet which all are Very Limited. If there was DSL or 4G I would be able to do that. The library has Business DSL with there computers but they don't have WiFi and the only other place that has free wifi is McDonalds but no Wall plugs

  26. Read My Lips says:

    The government has no business regulating a system that isn't broken. Stop trying to dig your fingernails into as many industries as you can suck blood from. 282 members of congress have requested you not to proceed with this action because it is not in the benefit of the consumer, it is in your benefit. You lost to Comcast based on current laws, and because you lost you think you can just rewrite the laws? Crooks!! Why don't you focus your energy on worthwhile topics rather than making yourself look foolish.

  27. Rez Dawg says:

    I live in Northern Arizona now and would like some of the quality of service that I have for years subsidized when I live and worked in Phoenix. Included in my phone bill was a charge for rural telecommunications that never happened.
    Now in Phoenix broadband is at 40M download as a 'give' away and the best I can get is 1Meg for a fortune by satellite and still have no land lines available and cellular service at best is still a 4 mile drive to a hill top.
    This is America and I can't see why if I don't live in a major urban area service is not available yet. Third world countries have better broadband services than we do.
    We need to get our perspectives realigned as to what still needs to be achieved and what our priorities should be.

  28. Robert W Gehl says:

    "No to Govt. takeover of the internet."

    The irony. The federal government invented the Internet.

    Anyway, I vote for the return to Title II regulation. I for one miss the days when I could shop for multiple ISPs in any location. Now, at best it's a choice between terrible prices and service (cable), worse (DSL), and completely awful (satellite). I believe Title II regulation could help us return to a multiplicity of ISPs.

    Robert W Gehl
    Washington, DC

  29. thamesl says:

    Ooops, I meant my reply for "Guest at June 18 at 7:19 am

  30. camron1975 says:

    The telecommunications industry is known for poor, often horrible, customer service. Verizon, hands down, has to be the worst provider out there. The reason? They don't CARE. Verizon knows that in the regions it has a foothold, just about all other providers HAVE to use their infrastructure....which is guaranteed business for them. Their policy seems to be "It is what it is, we are what we are and if you aren't happy, tough". If Verizon was a smaller, independant company with more direct competition they would be out of business - unfortunately, most people are FORCED to use them.

    Case in point - Verizon opened up their FiOS service to other ISP's such as and, and allowed them to resell it. As a TrueNet customer (and dsl extreme at one point), i was able to order the fios through thier company and call THEM when there were issues. I didnt have to deal with Verizon. Its a MUCH better experience dealing with smaller ISP's who actually care, answer the phone and can handle issues promptly. Recently, Verizon took all of thier FiOS circuits back from Truenet .....and now im faced with having to go back to Verizon directly or switch to a slower service (I can only get 1 meg DSL where I live). I HAVE NO OPTIONS OTHER THAN VERIZON. I called Verizon to do this "migration" and after an hour on the phone and being transferred around I hung up. AHHHHH! I wish a larger ISP would come to my area and challenge Verizon - maybe then they would suddenly realize that their customers are the reason thier in business.

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