Net neutrality compromise reportedly on tap

There may not be blood shed over net neutrality after all, according to an analyst report from Stifel Nicolaus that suggests the two main combatants--the broadband industry and the federal government--have been getting to know and understand each other.

The FCC has been holding meetings with industry VIPs in an effort to hammer out some sort of compromise that would preclude a nasty court fight over how much, if any, regulatory authority the agency could wield over broadband and the Internet. According to the report, the talks have been going well.

The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding starting with today's Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on how to use technology to improve government efficiency and continuing Thursday when the FCC holds its monthly open meeting.

Of late, and really pretty much all along the line, there has been a remarkable absence of rancor on the subject of regulation. Cable executives have asked for none or limited regulation and even the FCC has suggested using a light hand.

Last week, during a second quarter earnings call, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts was asked about the situation and sounded optimistic. "There's a constructive dialog around this area with the FCC and with a number of stakeholders," Roberts said. "It seems like the extreme scenarios are off the table from our perspective. We're hopeful that there's a constructive process under way to try to find regulatory solutions that can allow the businesses to go forward with some certainty, to be pro-investment and pro-innovation and at the same time establish some ground rules that everyone can find constructive."

Those who didn't know better might suggest he already had an inside view of what's going to happen.

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