Susan Crawford's Advice to the FCC: Reclassify

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April 12, 2010 | Editor

Susan Crawford, a former aid to Obama on his FCC transition team, has an op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times. Her idea on how the FCC can regain the high ground after the net neutrality defeat is to reclassify cable internet access as telecommunications. In FCC-speak, this means that accessing the Web over your cable provider’s coax should be under the same rules as analog voice.

While I understand and share Crawford’s frustrations with bad past FCC policies and  court decisions,  I don’t think her reclassification scheme will do much good for anybody (except for a few well placed players).

I mean do we really want to squash VoIP carriers with regulatory overhead, costs, and taxes just as  the National Broadband Planis attempting to move us in a saner direction in the areas of USF and access fees?

Saying that cable VoIP is “telecomunications” would only help us achieve a counter-productive goal.

The recent history that Crawford refers to in her article is a twisty one, but my understanding is that the FCC during the Bush years back-pedaled on open access or line  unbundling  (UNE-L) and finally gave up with its Trienenial Review Order of 2003, which was mostly upheld by the US Court of Appeals.

One way out of this mess is for the FCC to come up with an open access plan that has reasonable wholesale rates. Kind of like  what the rest of the world has.

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