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Saturday Broadband Bill Meeting Held

A source familiar with the meeting plans confirms that network neutrality stakeholders are continuing to talk over the weekend at the FCC about a possible targeted bill to clarify the FCC's broadband regulatory authority.

At press time (about 1:15 p.m.) a Saturday meeting was still going on (it began at 9), with two more meetings planned for next week, according to a source.

Sources familiar with the ongoing talks are divided, with some saying they did not believe an agreement is imminent, and others holding out hope a negotiated solution could be near, pointing out that while there are still lots of issues to discuss, at least they are talking.

A bill the FCC, cable and telco operators, Google and Skype and advoacy groups like Free Press and Public Knowledge could all live with is a tall order, but it would take the heat off the FCC, which has gotten plenty of pushback from Congress on FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's "third way" proposal to reclassify broadband transmission as under Title II common carrier regs, though apply only a handful.

There were at least three meetings at the FCC last week between the featuring network neutrality stakeholders talking about possible legislation.

Talks last week included about prohibitions on blocking legal content, a nondiscrimination principle--which the FCC is proposing as part of its network neutrality rulemaking separate from the Title II reclassification--how specialized services would be treated, informing customers about network management practices, and whether network neutrality principles would apply to wireless broadband.

Cable and telco operators have argued that it would be better for Congress to step in with a targeted bill than for the FCC to proceed with reclassification.

The Saturday meeting was said to include the what have emerged as something of a "Big Six" negotiating committee, with representatives of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, AT&T. Verizon, google. Skype and the Network Neutrality Coalition.