Yesterday, the FCC announced it was pushing back its December meeting by one week to December 21. Popular opinion is that the move has been made in anticipation of the Commission taking up net neutrality regulations. As the Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang reports:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to introduce a proposal that would be under its questionable legal jurisdiction over broadband service providers, according to Stifel Nicholaus analyst Rebecca Arbogast. And the chairman is in the difficult position of now having to convince two Democratic commissioners who have pushed him to reassert authority over broadband services so he can implement rules against discrimination of content on Internet networks.
Analysts said the delay was probably created so Genachowski could garner support for a majority 3 to 2 vote on a final rule.
“We suspect the Democrats could ultimately support a Title I order, but they may seek some sort of concessions on this or other matters,” Arbogast wrote in a research note Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Sara Jerome of The Hill reports that Free Press — the advocacy group that has long pushed for the strictest of regulations on broadband providers — may be warming to the tamer Title I order as well:
[W]ith Genachowski attempting what appears to be a renewed effort to create net-neutrality rules, analysts are predicting he will use the weaker Title I, rather than Title II, to stake the agency’s authority.
Free Press is nevertheless open to backing the potential proposal, even if it is not accompanied by an attempt to place broadband services under Title II.
“The most important component to get correct is the actual policy itself — the actual policy that will govern the rules of the road and determine if there’s discrimination over the Internet,” [Free Press political advisor John] Kelsey said.
The FCC is now scheduled to release the agenda of its December meeting on November 30.
(Note: Stifel Nicholaus analyst Rebecca Arbogast, mentioned in the Washington Post article excerpted above, will be a speak at our next symposium event on December 7. For more information on the event, visit our Symposium Page.)