Now that all hope has been lost for what was billed as a compromise bill to resolve the network neutrality issue, industry and government leaders are waiting to see whether or not the FCC intends to exercise its contested authority to move forward on its own.
As Enterprise Networking Planet reports, the agency’s proposal to classify broadband access as a so-called Title II service and give it the legal authority to push on with policy proposals, including net neutrality, has already been hotly contested in Washington but might be the only way to resolve the deadlock.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, had been working to line up bipartisan support for a compromise bill that would bar the FCC from reclassifying broadband for two years, while authorizing rules to prevent ISPs from blocking content on their networks.
But after Republican committee members said they would not support the bill, Waxman in a statement signaled support for the FCC to go it alone.
Consensus has always been a scarce commodity in the debate over network neutrality and this year, with partisan tempers flaring ahead of the midterm elections, has proven no exception.
After efforts to draft a compromise bill in the House ground to a halt on Wednesday, the focus of the debate is now shifting to the Federal Communications Commission, which could now move ahead with a plan to firm up its legal authority over Internet service providers.
Mired in controversy, that proposal would reclassify broadband access as a so-called Title II service, a designation under communications law that would put the FCC on firmer legal footing as it looks to advance a variety of policy proposals, including many items in its national broadband plan, as well as net neutrality.