FCC and Title II: All Options Said To Be Still On Table

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Network neutrality stakeholders are split over whether the Federal Communications Commission's Title II reclassification proposal will be put on the back-burner while the commission seeks more comment on its network neutrality rulemaking proposal. But a senior FCC official suggests the burner is still hot.

Asked whether the comment requests precludes action on Title II, the official, speaking on background, said: "All options remain on the table."

Those include FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's so-called "Third Way" proposal of reclassifying broadband transmissions under some Title II common carrier regs but not applying the rest, imposing the full-blown Title II framework, and keeping broadband under the more lightly regulated Title I information services regime.

Vetting those options was prompted by a federal appeals court decision that the FCC had not justified its authority to enforce its Internet openness guidelines against Comcast for blocking BitTorrent file uploads.

"The FCC staff is busy reviewing and analyzing an extensive record of more than 50,000 comments in the broadband framework proceeding," said the official, "which only closed a few weeks ago. Securing a solid legal foundation for broadband policy is too important an issue to rush," the source said.

The FCC's deadline for final comment on the network neutrality rulemaking proceeding will not be before at least December, while the just-released tentative agenda for the FCC's Sept. 23 meeting makes no mention of Title II reclassfication.

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