FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has told House
Republicans that the FCC is keeping the so-called 'Title II'
docket--he does not call it that--open, is that he sees it as a potential aide to Congress and
Another reason he did not mention is that the FCC frequently
keeps dockets open for years. In fact, it has moved recently to close some of
the older and inactive ones.
Genachowski's observation came in a letter Monday in
response to questions from Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
One of the issues for House Republicans critical of the
FCC's new network neutrality regs is the fact that the docket proposing
reclassifying Internet access as a Title II telecommunications service remains
That reclassification was considered a nonstarter by
industry members who negotiated with the FCC on a compromise
net neutrality order.
In follow-up answer to House Republicans following a Feb. 16
oversight hearing on the issue with all the FCC Commissioners, the chairman
said that one of the reasons the docket containing the Title II
reclassification option, as well as others, remains open is 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.
Legislators on both side of the aisle have said that they
need to update the Act since its 1996 rewrite was focused more on traditional
telecom than the broadband revolution that ensued.
House Republicans and a number of industry players are also
concerned it is being left open as a backstop means of establishing the FCC's
Internet access regulatory authority if its rules are thrown out by the courts.