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FCC Seeks Stakeholder Input on Clarifying Broadband Authority

A senior official confirms that the FCC is currently hosting talks "seeking a consensus on Internet-access rules."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week said he was open to suggestions for other solutions than his "third way" approach and seemed to suggest there might be a possible stakeholder compromise. He said his interest was not in any particular vehicle so long as the destination was protecting Internet openness, investment and innovation, as well as elements of the National Broadband Plan.

That openness to other ways came in the announcement last week of the notice of inquiry on not only his approach, but also on the options of doing nothing, imposing all of the Title II common carrier regulations on broadband transmissions rather than the handful that would be applied in his proposal, or whatever else people wanted to come up with.

The Wall Street Journal's Amy Schatz reported June 21
that the meetings included telco and cable industry reps as well as Google and Skype.

In the weeks since Chairman Genachowski and General Counsel Austin Schlick announced their so-called "third way" approach to clarifying/establishing the FCC's regulatory authority over Internet transmuissions, that plan has been getting increasing pushback from Congress. Although the Democratic leaders of the key oversight committee's have continued to express support for the plan, a bipartisan group of legislators including those Dems said last week they would hold meetings starting this week on the Internet and the FCC's authority.

Some have called for a targeted bill that would clarify the FCC has the authority to enforce the network openness
guidelines it thought it could enforce before the Comcast/BitTorrent decision called that into question. Last week, for example, some powerful unions and network neutrality fans, led by the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America, suggested a targeted bill essentially codifying the FCC's four Internet freedoms, plus two additional ones on transparency and nondiscriminatory access that the FCC has proposed as part of its network neutrality rulemaking.