Free Press: Chairman Has 'Hemmed, Hawed and Hedged' On Broadband Reclassification

Free Press is putting a full-court press on the FCC to try
to get it to move quickly to establish its network management and network neutrality
regulatory powers.

Saying FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was dodging questions
about how the agency will proceed, Free Press has started a clock  (almost 21
days and counting) ticking off the time since the April 6 BitTorrent decision
in the D.C. federal appeals court.

As the FCC's deadline for reply comments came and went
Monday (April 26), the call mounted from many industry players for the FCC not
to rush to reclassify broadband under a more regulatory regime, but instead
wait for Congress to provide a clearer set of instructions.

On the other side were groups like Free Press, pushing the
FCC to quickly establish its authority so that it can expand and codify its
network neutrality guidelines and clear up any questions about its ability to
implement key elements of the national broadband plan, particularly
transitioning the universal service fund from phone to broadband support.

The FCC has left the Internet unprotected, says Free Press.

"The FCC chairman has promised the American public that
he would defend net neutrality and take any steps needed to ensure that every
American can get fast, affordable, world-class Internet service," said
Free Press Managing Director Craig Aaron in announcing the effort. "Yet
over the past three weeks, when asked how his agency was going to put the
National Broadband Plan and the ongoing open Internet proceeding on solid legal
ground, Chairman Genachowski has hemmed, hawed and hedged, saying only that his
lawyers were considering next steps."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.