Congress ready to take on broadband plan, Internet gateways

Both the U.S. House and Senate will be in action next week in cable-related matters. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will be the star of the Senate Commerce Committee meeting Wednesday providing his take on the national broadband plan and possibly how it's been affected by the recent U.S. Appeals Court ruling on Comcast and net neutrality. More specifically, cable and its set-top box makers will be in the spotlight Thursday when the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet holds a hearing that also focuses on elements of the national broadband plan.

Of the two, the Thursday session will be the most interesting for the cable industry because it will hone in on the FCC's "recommendations" that set-top boxes and "Internet gateways" should be available via retail outlets and that the CableCard isn't working and should be revised.

While the national broadband plan has drawn the most attention for the way it wants to spread high-speed broadband Internet to the masses, it took a vicious swipe at cable's so-called set-top "duopoly" of Motorola and Cisco and the industry's lack of retail presence.

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