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FCC going forward with broadband plan despite 'net neutrality' ruling

[JURIST] Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] Chairman Julius Genachowski [official profile] testified [text, PDF] Wednesday before the Senate Commerce Committee [official website] that the agency will move ahead with its National Broadband Plan [official website; materials] despite a recent court ruling [JURIST report] that it lacks the power to enforce net neutrality [Google backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Net neutrality, which is unanimously supported [JURIST report] by the FCC's commissioners, was thought essential to the goal of an open flow of information over the Internet regardless of the amount of revenue generated by the information. Genachowski said that the FCC's actions, as laid out in the 2010 Broadband Action Agenda [materials] will, "protect America's global competitiveness and help deliver the extraordinary benefits of broadband to all Americans." The roadmap, he continued, falls within the framework of the Communications Act of 1934 [text, PDF] as amended in 1996 and will be, "rooted in a sound legal foundation, designed to promote investment, innovation, competition, and consumer interests."

The FCC announced last week that it would move forward with the plan [JURIST reports] despite the ruling. The FCC sent the plan [JURIST report] to Congress for approval last month, seeking approval to enact regulations to update the communications infrastructure in the US and make broadband service available to millions more Americans. Telecommunications companies Verizon, AT&T and Comcast [corporate websites] argue that net neutrality would inhibit their ability to effectively manage Internet traffic. Under the National Broadband plan, the FCC hopes to provide broadband access as broadly as possible, including to at least one public institution in every community and to first responders. Other notable goals of the plan include providing 100 million households with affordable 100 megabits-per-second internet service and ensuring that all children are literate in digital technology by the time they leave high school.

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