Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is set to unveil a new approach to broadband that will allow the agency to impose Internet regulations Thursday, according to multiple reports.
The move could revive net neutrality, which is the idea that all users of the Internet should have the same access to all sites and content, regardless of how bandwidth-heavy the content may be.
President Barack Obama strongly supported net neutrality during his 2008 presidential campaign.
A federal court ruling last month dealt a blow to the agency by declaring that the FCC didn’t prove it had the authority to regulate the Internet, putting net neutrality in jeopardy. The court said the FCC had overstepped its bounds by imposing sanctions against Comcast in 2008.
In response to the federal ruling, the FCC had the option of either reclassifying broadband into a category it could regulate or appealing to legislators to change classification laws. It appears FCC officials chose the former.
The Associated Press reported:
“The FCC’s new approach would change the way it defines broadband without imposing additional regulations. Genachowski hopes to satisfy both Internet providers that oppose any new regulations and public interest groups that have been calling on the commission to impose stricter rules.”
The AP also reported late Wednesday that the FCC would seek a “third way” approach that would be stronger than “weak” rules for information services and but not as cumbersome as “needlessly burdensome” telecommunications rules.
If Genachowski defines a plan to regulate broadband, it would be a complete turnaround from earlier reports that he was expected to leave Internet services deregulated.