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FCC Still Pondering Net Neutrality PN

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has not decided whether to issue a public notice seeking comment on various proposals on reinstating Title II regs, according to FCC sources.

Staffers had signaled they needed time to vet the various proposals, including hybrid Title II/Sec. 706 approaches--and the commission had been working on a public notice to solicit additional comment. But according to a report in Politico, the sentiment appeared to be shifting away from having to issue that notice.

The FCC has already received comments, millions of them, on the chairman's original Sec. 706 proposal, and held numerous forums where the hybrid and Title II proposals were vetted, so there may not be any legal requirement to seek more comment on them.

In addition, seeking comment unnecessarily could prevent the FCC from acting more quickly on new rules if the chairman decided on a new approach and wanted to speed the process.

Currently the thinking is that, whatever he decides to propose, it won't be voted until February or March of next year, but the President did try to light a fire under the process by coming out for Title II and urging the FCC to protect an open Internet.

Currently the FCC's no-blocking and no-unreasonable discrimination rules do not apply after the court threw them out, though ISPs have pledged to abide by them anyway, and Comcast is required to under the terms of its NBC Universal merger condition.

ISP's have argued that a Sec. 706 approach is best, and a Title II common carrier approach is an innovation killer and investment chiller.