FCC Chief Says Broadband Plan Should Continue

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Despite a recent court ruling telling the Federal Communications Commission it can't regulate the Internet, the agency's chairman on Wednesday told a Congressional panel he believes the plan for high-speed Internet expansion should move forward.

According to The New York Times, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told the Senate Commerce Committee that FCC lawyers are still reviewing a court ruling earlier this month that said the FCC lacks the authority to require Comcast to treat all Internet traffic equally on its network.

The primary issue is whether the Internet will be a branch that's re-categorized as a service such as telephone, which the FCC has authority over. Currently, there's no word on whether the FCC will try to make this move.

The FCC's National Broadband Plan aims to turn the country into the world's largest market of high-speed broadband users while also bringing affordable broadband connection to rural areas, and schools in particular.

The foundation of the National Broadband Plan is to offer low-cost, high-speed Internet service across the country. Almost 100 million Americans lack broadband at home, and even if they wanted it, another 14 million Americans couldn't have access. The FCC contends this ultimately leads to a lack in competitiveness.

Because broadband is considered an information service rather than telecommunications, the FCC said in a 2007 declaratory ruling it's not subject to regulation.

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