FCC: Comcast Decision Casts a Shadow On Broadband Plan

The FCC acknowledged on their official blog today that the court’s decision on the Comcast deal could hamper their national broadband plan. General Counsel of the FCC, Austin Schlick says that the court’s ruling that the FCC does not have the authority to enforce net neutrality was an “important ruling.”

“It undermines the legal approach the FCC adopted in 2005 to fulfill its statutory duty of being the cop-on-the-beat for 21st Century communications networks.”

This week, a panel of judges ruled unanimously that the regulatory body did not have the power to order Comcast to stop interfering with consumers’ access to BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer services.

Schlick says the ruling will have no effect “on most” of the FCC’s national broadband plan, which includes some 200 recommendations— but the decision could impact critical components.

“Yesterday’s decision may affect a significant number of important Plan recommendations.  Among them are recommendations aimed at accelerating broadband access and adoption in rural America; connecting low-income Americans, Native American communities, and Americans with disabilities; supporting robust use of broadband by small businesses to drive productivity, growth and ongoing innovation; lowering barriers that hinder broadband deployment; strengthening public safety communications; cybersecurity; consumer protection, including transparency and disclosure; and consumer privacy. The Commission must have a sound legal basis for implementing each of these recommendations. We are assessing the implications of yesterday’s decision for each one, to ensure that the Commission has adequate authority to execute the mission laid out in the Plan.”

The FCC unveiled it’s broadband plan in March, announcing the goal of connecting 100 million homes to broadband by 2020.