Court Backs FCC in Verizon Broadband Ruling

Today, an appeals court upheld a 2006 deadlocked decision by the Federal Communications Decision over whether Verizion could deregulate some of its commercial business lines. Under the arcane rules of the FCC, the previous 2-2 split vote on the petition means the agency did not actually deny the petition, which, in turn, translates into approval of the petition, a policy known as forebearance. The FCC's vote and the court's ruling drew the ire of some congressmen who are looking to revise the rules that allow for a tie vote to translate into an approval.

Last year, Verizon filed a petition with the FCC to ease its broadband obligations to share lines with competitors and to make those lines available at "just and reasonable rates." Verizon argued in its petition that the level of local competition no longer justified the original rules. The FCC was unable to come to a decision on the Verizon petition, deadlocking on its vote along party lines. Republican commissioner Robert McDowell refused himself from the vote. Republicans on the panel, including FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, supported the petition in the name of deregulation while the two Democrats opposed it, claiming approval would lead to higher prices and fewer consumer choices for broadband service.

News source: eWeek

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