Child porn treated as test case for FCC authority

That’s the same hurdle some believe stands in the way of its efforts to expand broadband access and fashion net neutrality rules.

"You don't have the authority to do what you're attempting to do, do you?" Culberson said of Genachowski's plan to change the regulatory status of broadband providers. He wants to apply to broadband companies a series of rules that already govern phone providers.

Echoing concerns expressed in recent weeks, Republicans on the panel urged Genachowski to wait for congressional action rather than pursue the authority independently.

"Are you concerned that a majority of Congress opposes your plan?" Ranking Member Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) asked Genachowski, referring to the over 70 House Democrats and a near unanimous chorus of GOP members who have panned Genachowski's proposal.

Responding that he takes the congressional detractions "very seriously," Genachowski pointed to the "uninvited, undesired" court decision as creating an "urgent" need for the commission to boost its authority.

The commission, he said, needs to "go into the basement and…fix the foundations."