recommended reading

Broadband Legal Battles Loom


By Dawn Lim May 6, 2010

recent posts

A legal battle looms on the horizon after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski released plans today on how the agency would fight to restore regulatory powers over the Internet.

His statement follows the D.C. Circuit's Comcast v. FCC ruling last month, which stated that the commission did not have the authority to stop Comcast from interfering and discriminating against its subscribers' use of peer-to-peer networking, or file-sharing between networks, without the need of a server.

The agency hopes to overturn the ruling, which chips away at the authority that it needs to extend broadband nationwide. "The goal is to restore the broadly supported status quo consensus that existed prior to the court decision," Genachowski stated.

  • The agency could rely on provisions in the current Communications Act to try to roll out the National Broadband Plan, but this approach has "serious risk of failure in court [and] the concern is that this path would lead the commission straight back to its current situation," Genachowski said.
  • Alternatively, it could decide to reclassify broadband services as a telecommunications service. Right now, broadband is considered an information service and not subject to regulation. But this could "subject the providers of broadband communications services to extensive regulations ill-suited to broadband," Genachowski noted.

FCC has decided to go with what it calls "the third way," where it will view the transmission component of broadband access as a telecommunications service, while continuing to treat the rest of it as an information service.

Genachowski has urged his colleagues to seek public comments on this approach. The agency's commissioners, Michael Copps, as well as Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker have stepped into the debate.

More details of this legal route can be found in a statement from General Counsel Austin Schlick.


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.