FCC weighing options as court determines Comcast online case

The resolution of a court case begun during the previous Administration's term could impact the national broadband plan spearheaded by the current Administration's FCC. That case, which dates back to 2008, revolves around the FCC's decision to censure Comcast for throttling bandwidth for what it perceived to be bandwidth hogs. Comcast objected and took the case to the courts where it argued before the D.C. Appeals Court that the FCC has no authority to regulate broadband services.

A three-judge panel is expected to rule on that in the next several months, just as the present FCC pushes hard on its national broadband plan agenda which, at its heart, maintains that the FCC has absolute power to regulate broadband services. If the court rules in Comcast's favor, it could spell a long and nasty period of challenges to FCC authority about anything broadband related--including the 120 MHz spectrum grab the Commission suggests will boost national broadband but broadcasters maintain will cripple over-the-air television.

The Commission's hands aren't tied--yet--and it's quite likely that the April 21 meeting will be another show of broadband strength as the body openly considers rules about how cable set-top boxes work and whether a more consumer-oriented approach to delivering cable signals should be pursued.

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