FCC's Clyburn open to reclassifying broadband

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said she remains open to the possibility of the FCC reclassifying broadband as a Title II common-carrier service, an action that would reinforce the agency's position on the topic after a court decision cast doubt on its authority to regulate broadband. The issue of reclassification has emerged as key sticking point in the FCC's efforts to move ahead on net neutrality regulations for wireless and wireline networks.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Clyburn made it clear that she has not decided one way or the other if reclassification is something the FCC should pursue. Doing so could give the FCC much greater authority to impose open-access requirements on broadband networks. However, an unnamed source close to Clyburn told the Washington Post that Clyburn likely will side with what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski decides to do.

"I'm hopeful that under the current framework, we can achieve objectives I put forth," Clyburn said an interview with C-SPAN's "The Communicators" program. However, she said, "I'm open that if we see in our evaluations that there are deficiencies there ... then we need to have a different set of conversations."

Later, in comments to the Post, Clyburn said the court decision, Comcast v. FCC, that brought into question the FCC's authority only focused on whether the agency could use its ancillary jurisdiction under Title I of the Communications Act to pursue net neutrality. "We are therefore not foreclosed from using other sources of authority to enact and enforce rules that enable us to keep the Internet open and free," she said. "I am open to all options and believe that we should not be afraid to ask the tough questions in order to find the best way to keep the Internet in the hands of the people and not industry."

At the FCC's monthly meeting Wednesday, Genachowski did not tip his hand as to how the commission will proceed. He said the commission's legal staff is reviewing the court decision, but did not say when a decision will be made.

For more:
- see this Washington Post article

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