FCC to vote on regulating broadband

A man uses a laptop computer at a wireless cafe.

Steve Chiotakis: The Federal Communication Commission is likely to vote today to go ahead and seek public comment on three different plans to regulate broadband. The FCC's reconsidering rules that govern high-speed Internet connections. At the center of the debate is a federal appeals court
ruling that's cast doubt on the agency's authority over broadband under its existing regulatory framework. Rob Enderle is a principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
He's with us live this morning from San Jose, Calif. Good morning.

Rob Enderle: Good morning.

Chiotakis: Now this is pitting broadband companies against Internet companies. Why are these folks fighting?

Enderle: Well they're fighting because both sides want control over the broadband and what happened in 2002 since the FCC was kind of de-missioned has worked against the U.S. and its leadership in the area.

Chiotakis: We hear the term "net neutrality" and how that's sort of at the center of this debate. What is net neutrality? Give us a little primer.

Enderle: Well net neutrality actually has a number of definitions depending on who you talk to. But in general it means that everybody is treated relatively equally. You weren't criticized based on what kind of you're providing or who you are -- everybody is equal underneath the Internet.

Chiotakis: Did we see this coming? I mean the Internet's been around for a long time. People have been using it for a decade or two, why are we just talking about this now?

Enderle: Well primarily because the FCC was kind of crippled back in 2002, when the authority was taken from them. A number of members of the Supreme Court and Congress indicated that was probably going to result in this problem, and it kind of did. I think it was a mistake to reduce the FCC's power, now we're seeing the result of that mistake. Sometimes it takes a decade for something to impact us.

Chiotakis: Rob Enderle, helping us to explain this today, with us on the phone from San Jose. Rob, thanks.

Enderle: Pleasure.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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