FCC delays December meeting, net neutrality speculation grows

The FCC delayed its December open meeting from Dec. 15 to Dec. 21, a move that many see as a way for the agency to get more time to decide its next action on net neutrality. The FCC usually releases a draft of its meeting agenda three weeks before its open meeting, which means that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski would have needed to circulate the agenda by today. 

It is unclear whether Genachowski will act on net neutrality this year. The new meeting date doesn't ensure that the issue will be on the agenda, but the delay does give Genachowski more time to circulate a possible net neutrality proposal to the other four FCC commissioners. An FCC spokeswoman told Politico that the extra week will help the FCC evaluate potential agenda items for December.

Meanwhile, several sources inside and outside the FCC told Multichannel News that FCC staffers met with at least three top telecom industry players on Monday to discuss net neutrality regulations. According to the report, National Cable Television Association President Kyle McSlarrow, AT&T (NYSE:T) Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legal Affairs James Cicconi and Tom Tauke, executive vice president of public affairs, policy and communications at Verizon (NYSE:VZ), met with the FCC. The agency also held separate meetings with public interest group representatives and other tech players. 

Earlier this week, reports citing unnamed sources said that Genachowski may draft a net neutrality proposal that is similar to the bill Rep. Henry Waxman put together earlier this fall. Waxman's draft bill, which was introduced in late September, largely went easy on wireless carriers. According to the draft, wireless Internet providers would not be able to block consumers from accessing lawful Internet websites, subject to reasonable network management. They also would not be able to block "lawful applications that compete with the provider's voice or video communications services in which the provider has an attributable interest, subject to reasonable network management."

Further, wireless carriers would have to "disclose accurate and relevant information in plain language regarding the price, performance and network management practices" of service, "sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service and device providers to develop and market new Internet offerings."

For more:
- see this Multichannel News article
- see this Politico article

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