Liberal groups press FCC on broadband issues

The coalition pointed to the April federal appeals court decision in Comcast vs. the FCC that cast doubt over the FCC's authority to implement the plan's recommendations as evidence of the need for a new regulatory framework. The FCC has proposed re-classifying broadband as a telecom service to increase its regulatory authority, but the proposal has drawn significant pushback from lawmakers.

"While legislation might be one route to achieving this objective, we urge the Commission to move forward expeditiously to adopt a legally justifiable regulatory framework to enact the broadband plan," the groups write.

Specifically the coalition wants to expand the Universal Service Fund to include broadband, arguing that minorities and rural residents are significantly less likely to have broadband access. They also want more transparency in broadband billing, with greater accuracy in advertised broadband speeds and increased privacy protections for subscribers.

"It is impossible to meet any of the critical goals described above or any of the Plan’s broader goals without the re-establishment of clear FCC authority to regulate in these critical areas," the letter concludes.