In the wake of a federal court decision casting doubt on its authority to regulate broadband and codify new net neutrality regulations, the FCC is now weighing its options.
"The commission must have a sound legal basis for implementing each of these [national broadband plan] recommendations," Austin Schlick, the FCC's general counsel, wrote in a blog post. "We are assessing the implications of yesterday's decision for each one, to ensure that the commission has adequate authority to execute the mission laid out in the [broadband] plan."
Schlick said the ruling--which said the FCC overstepped its statutory authority when it cited Comcast in 2008 for preventing users from accessing peer-to-peer file sharing services--has no effect on most of the FCC's national broadband plan. The FCC will still be able to take action on things like increasing spectrum allocations, improving the efficiency of wireless systems and developing common standards for public-safety networks.
However, Schlick said the decision may affect a number of key recommendations, including accelerating broadband access and adoption in rural parts of the country, connecting underserved communities, cybersecurity and consumer protection, including transparency and disclosure.
In a separate but related action, the FCC also decided to extend the deadline until April 26 for final comments on its draft net neutrality proposal. Those comments had been due today. Both the CTIA and the Open Internet Coalition asked the FCC to extend the deadline following the court decision. "It is the policy of the commission that extensions of time shall not be routinely granted," the FCC said in a statement. "However, we find that good cause exists to provide all parties an extension of the reply comment deadline."
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