EFF Announces Support for Reclassification

The Electronic Frontier Foundation today called on the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a common carrier service. 
In a blog post on its website the digital rights group urged the agency to take this one, best step towards ensuring real Net Neutrality. 
To get to a place where it can actually enforce neutrality rules and do nothing further, however, the FCC first needs to do one important thing: reverse its 2002 decision to treat broadband as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” This is what’s known as Title II reclassification. 
Awesome. High fives all around. 
EFF has long been a supporter of Net Neutrality in principle, but until now has not specified whether a common-carrier reclassification was the best way to go. 
Today’s announcement makes it clear: 
While we would have preferred for the market to right this problem itself, the consolidation of Internet access providers and the increasing willingness to use their position to extract rents from downstream applications means that we need to do more than just shine a light with transparency and support alternatives with community and municipal infrastructure.  We need some minimal rules of the road and, for better or worse, the FCC is in the best position to get those rules in place sooner rather than later. EFF will be working hard to make sure the FCC does just that – and no more.
This news comes just a couple weeks before the July 15 deadline for public comments on the FCC’s Net Neutrality proposal. (A second deadline, to submit “reply” comments, falls on September 10). 
Thus far FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has spoken out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand, he labels himself a big supporter of Net Neutrality and the open Internet. But he refuses to take the necessary steps to make this principle enforceable by his agency. 

We’ve said time and time and time again that his current proposal – using the limited authority the FCC has under Section 706 of the Communications Act – is insufficient to prevent online content blocking or discrimination. 

The court that ruled in the Verizon vs. FCC case earlier this year simply stated that if the agency wanted enforceable rules to prevent discrimination, it should reclassify Internet service providers under Title II.

EFF’s statement of support joins other calls for strong Net Neutrality rules, real protections against blocking and discrimination, and reclassification – from the tech industry, investors, members of Congress, non-profit organizations, artists, entertainers and musicians, the mayors of the United States, and users who don’t want to see a small handful of phone and cable companies take control of Internet content.

It’s getting harder and harder for the FCC to ignore the groundswell of support for Net Neutrality. And the number of groups buying the argument that there is any other way to do it than reclassifying is shrinking daily.