In the aftermath of Tuesday's decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that Title I of the Communications Act does not give the Federal Communications Commission authority to tell Internet service providers like Comcast Communications how to manage the traffic on their networks, the commission is extending the public comment period for its proposed net neutrality rules.
According to Computerworld, the new comment deadline is April 26. (The original deadline was April 8.) The move is unusual, but it comes in response to requests from several interested parties that would like time to "evaluate...the legal implications" of the court's decision.
In a statement announcing the deadline delay, the FCC said:
It is the policy of the Commission that extensions of time shall not be routinely granted. However, we find that good cause exists to provide all parties an extension of the reply comment deadline. We therefore grant parties an extension, until April 26, 2010, to file reply comments. We expect that this extension will help parties develop complete and useful replies.
Opinions vary on just how much the ruling will affect the FCC's ability to promulgate net neutrality rules and even on its ability to implement the recently released National Broadband Plan. The Washington Post reported Thursday that the cyber security, privacy and consumer-protection policies the commission has prioritized could be in jeopardy. Still others wonder what, if anything, the ruling will mean for the pending Comcast-NBC merger.
Whatever the outcome, it will likely be more far-reaching than many expected.