Broadband Bill Meeting Planned For Saturday

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A source familiar with the meeting plans confirms that network neutrality stakeholders are continuing to talk over the weekend at the FCC about a possible targeted bill to clarify the agency's broadband regulatory authority.

Sources familiar with the talks are divided, with some saying they did not believe an agreement is imminent, while others are holding out hope that a negotiated solution could be near. Those in the latter camp point out that while there are still lots of issues to discuss, at least they are talking.

A bill the FCC, cable and telco operators, Google and Skype and advocacy groups like Free Press and Public Knowledge could all live with is a tall order, but it would take the heat off the FCC, which has gotten plenty of pushback from Congress on chairman Julius Genachowski's "third way" proposal to reclassify broadband transmission as under Title II common carrier regs.

There were at least three meetings at the FCC this week between the featuring network neutrality stakeholders talking about possible legislation. Now, a Saturday July 31 meeting is planned as well.

Talks last week included about prohibitions on blocking legal content, a nondiscrimination principle--which the FCC is proposing as part of its network neutrality rulemaking separate from the Title II reclassification--how specialized services would be treated, informing customers about network management practices, and whether network neutrality principles would apply to wireless broadband.

Cable and telco operators have argued that it would be better for Congress to step in with a targeted bill than for the FCC to proceed with reclassification.

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