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FCC Soldiers On With Broad Agenda after Court Ruling Curbs Authority

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan/Net Neutrality/States/Universal Service/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2010 - Aiming to stem a rising swell of concern over a recent court decision curbing the Federal Communications Commission’s regulatory authority, the agency has released an ambitious agenda for implementing key recommendations of its National Broadband Plan.

“The court decision earlier this week does not change our broadband policy goals or the ultimate authority of the FCC to act to achieve those goals,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.  “The court did not question the FCC’s goals; it merely invalidated one technical, legal mechanism for broadband policy chosen by prior commissions.”

An appeals court ruled that the FCC couldn’t mandate that broadband provider Comcast must give equal treatment to all Internet traffic streaming through its networks. Some members of the broadband community questioned whether the decision would affect the FCC’s new initiative to spread high-speed Internet access across the United States.

Genachowski said the agency has already begun to act on the plan and reiterated that its implementation is essential “to protect America’s global competitiveness and help deliver the extraordinary benefits of broadband to all Americans.”

The 2010 Broadband Action Agenda unveiled Thursday afternoon explains the purpose and timing of approximately 60 rulemakings and other proceedings the plan recommends for FCC action.

The action agenda focuses on four goals:

Promoting mobile broadband infrastructure and innovation by taking actions such as seeking to make an additional 500 megahertz of spectrum available for mobile broadband within the next 10 years;

Accelerating universal broadband access and adoption, and advancing causes such as education and health care by transforming the Universal Service Fund over the next 10 years to support broadband service, upgrading the e-rate program and reforming the rural health care program, among other things;

Fostering competition and maximizing consumer benefits by enhancing the broadband choices for small businesses and mobile providers, improving consumer disclosures and FCC data collection and ensuring that video navigation devices are available to consumers; and

Advancing robust and secure public safety communications networks by creating a nationwide public safety wireless broadband network, promoting cybersecurity and aiding the transition to new 911 and other alerting systems.

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