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Why does the FCC want to regulate wireless less than broadband?

A man looks at his email on a Blackberry.

The plan being put forth by the FCC is still a little sketchy in details; there is no massive bound volume to pick over. But if statements by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski hold up, both broadband and wireless providers will be required to carry all legal content. But while broadband providers would also be mandated to not discriminate in how it was delivered, wireless providers would have much looser regulation governing them.

Technology consultant Larry Downes says discussion about this plan has been ongoing, as has the increase in broadband traffic. You can stream movies right into your phone through data networks but the question is how well-equipped those networks are to handle that traffic and what they can be allowed to do to manage it.

Glenn Fleishman of The Economist also joins us. He says that if you're building a wired network you can always lay down more and bigger wires. With wireless, you're dealing with more fundamental laws of physics and how the radio frequency spectrum can support what we're asking it to do. At the same time, the wireless carriers want to make a profit and would rather have as few restrictions as possible.

Glenn says that while wireless carriers would be prevented under this plan from blockading certain content, they could slow it down enough that you simply stop asking for it.

The FCC votes on December 21.

Also in this show, Israeli researchers say they've developed software that can detect sarcasm in the written word. Sure they have.

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