FCC action on network neutrality suspected in December


Speculation in Washington was running rampant that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is getting ready to act on the topic of network neutrality before the year is out – and a Republican House of Representatives is seated. Lending credence is the fact that rumors of a delayed December Open Meeting to accommodate the plan have come true.

The FCC announced that the December meeting, originally scheduled for Wednesday 12/15/10, has been moved back almost a week to Tuesday 12/21/10.

According to Hillicon Valley, Republicans suspect that Genachowski is trying to slip the action in prior to seating the new Congress and during a time when he hopes nobody will notice what he’s doing. Running “under the radar” is how Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) put it. 19 signed on to a letter requesting that he do nothing at all.

But Democrats are expected to be supportive of FCC action, and Ed Markey (D-MA), who has always had a keen interest in communications matters, was one to publicly urge Genachowski to act.

How Genachowski plans to push forward is unclear. His colleague Michael Copps (D) could be won over with an order that is aimed very strongly at protecting consumers. However, Genachowski could risk losing Copps and aim for a vote from Robert McDowell (R) or Meredith Baker (R) that a bill that incorporates more compromise. The fifth commissioner, Mignon Clyburn (D) is thought to be more willing to tack toward the middle than Copps.