A senior official confirms that the FCC is currently hosting talks
"seeking a consensus on Internet-access rules."
Julius Genachowski last week said he was open to suggestions for other
solutions than his "third way" approach and seemed to suggest there
might be a possible stakeholder compromise. He said his interest was not
in any particular vehicle so long as the destination was protecting
Internet openness, investment and innovation, as well as elements of the
National Broadband Plan.
That openness to other ways came in
the announcement last week of the notice of inquiry on not only his
approach, but also on the options of doing nothing, imposing all of the
Title II common carrier regulations on broadband transmissions rather
than the handful that would be applied in his proposal, or whatever else
people wanted to come up with.
The Wall Street Journal's Amy
Schatz reported June 21 that the meetings included telco and cable
industry reps as well as Google and Skype.
In the weeks since
Chairman Genachowski and General Counsel Austin Schlick announced their
so-called "third way" approach to clarifying/establishing the FCC's
regulatory authority over Internet transmuissions, that plan has been
getting increasing pushback from Congress. Although the Democratic
leaders of the key oversight committee's have continued to express
support for the plan, a bipartisan group of legislators including those
Dems said last week they would hold meetings starting this week on the
Internet and the FCC's authority.
Some have called for a
targeted bill that would clarify the FCC has the authority to enforce
the network openness
guidelines it thought it could enforce before
the Comcast/BitTorrent decision called that into question. Last week,
for example, some powerful unions and network neutrality fans, led by
the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America, suggested a targeted
bill essentially codifying the FCC's four Internet freedoms, plus two
additional ones on transparency and nondiscriminatory access that the
FCC has proposed as part of its network neutrality rulemaking.