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Broadband Roundup: California Public Utilities Commission Delays Title II Regulation

in Broadband's Impact/Net Neutrality/Privacy by

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2014 – Set to pass a proposal enduring public utility regulation of broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act, the California Public Utilities Commission instead put the proposal on hold, reported Multichannel News. The proposal endorsing Title II regulation was believed to have passed on a 3-2 vote on September 11. But Commissioner Carla Peterman rescinded her vote, leaving the matter a tie-breaker.

The CPUC still opposes paid prioritization, according to Multichannel News, and will apparently make that comment to the Federal Communications Commission by its deadline for comments on net neutrality by Monday..

“The commercially reasonable standard is inconsistent with an open Internet because it would allow ISPs to discriminate under an undefined and likely unenforceable standard,” says a draft memo from CPUC’s assistant general counsel. “Accordingly, the CPUC would oppose FCC adoption of the proposed ‘commercially reasonable’ standard, and argue instead adoption of the “no unreasonable discrimination” standard rooted in Title II.”

Tom Wheeler’s Agenda for Broadband Competition

On September 12, the Benton Foundation posted a piece by Kevin Taglang that outlined FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Agenda for Broadband Competition. Wheeler first brought this agenda up in a speech on September 4 entitled, “The Facts and Future of Broadband Competition.”

Taglang outlines the four principles of the agenda in reference to the working definition of competition: (1) Where competition exists, the FCC will protect it, (2) Where greater competition can exist, the FCC will encourage it, (3) Where meaningful competition is not available, the FCC will work to create it, and (4) Where competition cannot be expected to exist, the FCC must shoulder the responsibility of promoting the deployment of broadband.

FISA Court Reauthorizes Bulk Metadata Collection

On September 12, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reauthorized the National Security Agency’s warrantless collection of “metadata” in bulk about people’s phone calls. The reauthorization allows for the program to continue for 90 days and comes as a surveillance reform bill is stuck in the Senate, The Hill reported.

While the House passed a bill ending the bulk collection program in favor of allowing the search for specific records with a court order, privacy advocates warned that the legislation would have “allowed for the NSA to conduct searches for every number in a certain area code, for instance, or every Verizon customer.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced the USA Freedom Act in May that managed to garner support from Democrats and Republicans, as well as technology companies, privacy advocates and the Obama Administration.

Net Neutrality Activists Make Final Stands

On Monday, September 15, FreePress and its supporters gather outside the Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia. This is the same day that American Commitment is asking its supporter to sign their petition to “Stop Internet Regulation.

These are just two of the advocacy organizations that are asking people to sign their petitions before the FCC comments deadline at midnight on Monday.

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