Genachowski Tells Congress He Will Consider Closing Title II Docket - Broadcasting & Cable

Genachowski Tells Congress He Will Consider Closing Title II Docket

Republicans concerned if the FCC loses a court challenge to its Title I-based compromise net neutrality rules, it could move quickly to assert Title II authority
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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Thursday told
House Communications Subcommittee members he would consider closing the Title
II docket.

That
was the FCC's original proposal to reclassify Internet access service as a
telecommunications service subject common carrier regs. ISPs had termed that
the nuclear option and the FCC ultimately struck compromise network neutrality
rules that avoided dropping that bomb by relying on Title I authority. But it
did not close the Title II docket.

Republicans
have expressed concern that if the FCC loses a court challenge to its Title
I-based compromise net neutrality rules, it could move quickly to assert Title
II authority.

At
a budget oversight hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden asked him to
close it and the chairman said he would at least consider it.

Walden
pointed out the docket had been open since 2009 -- the compromise rules were
approved in Dec. 2010. "Why is it still open," he asked, tying it
to the budget by also asking how many employees were currently working on the
docket.  Genachowski said he was not aware of any employees working on the
docket. "Why not close it," asked Walden. "It is something that
we will consider. We have been focused on USF." Walden cut him off saying:
"You're here, we can consider it now."

Genachowkski
said it was "something I will discuss with my staff."

Genachowski
did not repeat the defense of the open docket that he made to the full Energy
& Commerce Committee back in March 2011
.
At that time he argued that keeping it open was to collect info that could be
useful to Congress as a resource for updating the Communications Act, "as
many in Congress and the private sector have suggested is needed," he said
at the time.

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