Reports: Judges ponder FCC’s authority in Comcast’s net neutrality case

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 7:50am
Mike Robuck

Last week, a three-judge panel appeared to lean in Comcast’s favor while deciding whether the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to slap Comcast’s hand for blocking online file-sharing services.

On Friday, the panel held sway in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, during which Judge A. Raymond Randolph told the FCC’s general counsel that it appeared the FCC’s actions were based on policy statements that were “aspirational, not operational,” according to Reuters.

The panel is looking at whether the FCC could punish Comcast based on established rules or direct authority from Congress. If the FCC is found to have over-stepped its boundaries, it could curb its campaign for a free and open Internet through a net neutrality rulemaking proposal.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was quoted in the story saying that he was confident the FCC would prevail.

On Friday, Comcast argued that the FCC acted based on a set of non-binding rules instead of direct congressional authority or established rules.

Despite the initial setback, the FCC could still prevail with net neutrality by changing the process of how it’s implemented. The case could take several more months to conclude.

More Broadband Direct 1/11/10:
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