Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that the commission is moving ahead with its National Broadband Plan.
The future of the plan - even the agency's authority to regulate the Internet - has been up in the air since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FCC has no authority to tell Comcast and other broadband providers how to manage the traffic on their networks. But Genachowski suggests the commission can move forward without running afoul of the court's decision.
According to The New York Times, Genachowski did not suggest how the agency plans to do that. He would only say that FCC attorneys were exploring their options, and that they do not plan to appeal the ruling.
Many have encouraged the FCC to reclassify broadband as a utility like phone service, so the agency's authority to regulate in the area would not be in question, but Republicans in particular are opposed to that idea. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, reportedly warned Genachowski that reversing the FCC's current stance on regulating the Internet without getting the nod from Congress first, would "jeopardize" the legitimacy of the entire agency.
At the same time, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., made his position clear:
I do not believe broadband...needs to go without FCC oversight.