FCC To Study Broadband Practices
The issue is one of four 'principles' deemed important enough to be studied by the FCC.
By W. David Gardner

March 22, 2007 05:32 PM

The issue of whether broadband providers should charge different prices for different speeds or capacities will be studied by the Federal Communications Commission, the regulatory agency reported Thursday.

The issue is one of four "principles" deemed important enough to be studied by the FCC. The FCC Notice of Inquiry has been approved by the five commissioners of the FCC, although Commissioner Michael J. Copps, a Democrat, suggested the inquiry could disappear "into the regulatory dustbin, putting off decisions that need to be made now."

Copps pointed out that the United States is falling behind other nations in broadband, and he called the study "one tiny, timid step."

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, a Republican, noted that the intent of the principles to be studied "was to protect consumer access to the lawful online content of their choice and to foster the creation, adoption, and use of Internet broadband content, applications, and services."

Martin added that the inquiry will provide a forum for broadband providers to describe the happenings in the broadband market.

In addition to pricing issues, the FCC study will examine how Internet traffic is managed by providers and whether the FCC should distinguish between providers that charge for content and those that do not charge, and how consumers are affected by these various practices.


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