Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

FCC’s ’Unhinged‘ Net Neutrality Repeal Was Upheld Because ISPs Offer DNS and Caching

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:

To defend the reclassification, the FCC had to explain why broadband fits the federal definition of “information service” and not the federal definition of “telecommunications service.” Under US law, telecommunications is defined as “the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.”

That sounds like what broadband companies provide, but the FCC claims that broadband isn’t telecommunications because Internet providers also offer DNS (Domain Name System) services and caching as part of the broadband package. According to the FCC, the offering of DNS and caching makes broadband an information service, which is defined under US law as “the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications.”

Judges reluctantly ruled that the FCC made a permissible reading of the statute.

The preceding case that allows internet connectivity to be classified as information services in no way resembles the way broadband is actually used by consumers, nor is it a reasonable interpretation of the function of DNS and caching services. Precedent says that the judge’s decision is not incorrect, but the law is — as ever — outdated and fundamentally broken when it comes to interpreting newer technologies.