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:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


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