Comcast Case Looms Large in Senate Hearing

For about three weeks, the FCC’s national broadband plan commanded the attention of the tech and telecom policy world. Then came the Comcast ruling.

Since a federal appeals court last week voided the FCC’s order punishing Comcast for secretly degrading peer-to-peer traffic on its network, an order issued in 2008, the broadband plan seems to have taken a back seat to the commission’s authority to draft and enforce open Internet rules. Or anything else in the broadband sector.

Those frictions were very much on display today at a Senate hearing that saw Republicans and Democrats clash over the FCC’s proper role in overseeing the Internet, particularly in the contentious area of net neutrality.

Enterprise Networking Planet has the story on the hearing, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s thoughts, and the partisan fissure over the broadband issue.

WASHINGTON — Appearing before a Senate committee Wednesday afternoon, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski did his best to steer pointed questions about a court decision striking down the agency’s order in a high-profile net neutrality case back to his larger broadband agenda. But that’s what the senators wanted to talk about.

For the better part of today’s hearing, whose nominal focus was the national broadband plan that the FCC delivered to Congress last month, the lawmakers grilled Genachowski about the commission’s authority to enact net neutrality rules, and, more broadly, where the court ruling left the commission regarding other parts of its broadband program.

Genachowski didn’t allow much.

“Notwithstanding the decision last week in the Comcast case, I am confident that the commission has the authority it needs to implement the broadband plan,” Genachowski said, assuring the panel that the commission’s legal team is hard at work to ensure that the FCC takes its next steps on a “solid legal foundation,” a phrase he uttered at least four times throughout the hearing.

Read the full story at Enterprise Networking Planet:

Comcast Ruling Casts Long Shadow Over Senate Broadband Hearing

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