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FCC Reiterates It Values An Open Internet, but Controversy Brews

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan/Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2010 - Federal Communications Commission officials peppered a press conference discussion with repeated statements that the agency does not favor regulating the Internet while explaining that the agency must take some action for the nation to receive the broadband it deserves.

Officials said that within the next month or so the agency hopes to begin public comment on its proposal to reclassify the transmission component of broadband access service as a telecommunications service. The FCC more heavily regulates telecommunications services than broadband services.

The officials said that without this approach, components of its National Broadband Plan are at risk.

The agency earlier in the day introduced a new legal framework addressing an April court ruling that said the FCC had broader regulatory authority over Title II or telecommunications services, but its power didn’t extend as deeply into Title I or information services like broadband.

The court decision, which involved cable firm Comcast, weakened the agency’s ability to regulate any broadband providers.

Although FCC Chairman Genachowski and other members of the agency lauded the new initiative, the two Republican members of the commission criticized it in a statement issued Thursday.

Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker said Genachowski’s dramatic step to regulate the Internet was unnecessary.

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