This Week in Tech: FCC, Verizon set for showdown over net neutrality

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The FCC’s case will hinge on whether the judges accept its argument that the rules promote investment in broadband service, an area where the agency has explicit authority. A lawyer for a coalition of outside groups, including Web companies and public interest advocates, will also defend the FCC.

The rules were one of the major achievements of former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who stepped down earlier this year. At stake is not only the rules, but the agency’s authority to regulate broadband Internet service at all.

In other technology happenings, the House Judiciary subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will hold a Tuesday morning hearing on whether to re-authorize a satellite television law that is set to expire at the end of next year.

The House panel will hear testimony from witnesses representing CenturyLink, Dish Network, Nielsen Co., Major League Baseball, the American Cable Association and the National Association of Broadcasters. Preston Padden, a former executive with Disney, will testify on his own behalf.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on Wednesday afternoon to examine innovation and regulation in the video marketplace.

Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn will defend her agency’s Lifeline phone subsidy program in a speech at the New America Foundation on Thursday morning. Conservative critics have attacked the subsidy as a prime example of government waste and have derisively referred to it as the “Obama phone program,” despite the fact that it began before he took office.

Clyburn and other defenders argue the program helps low-income people connect with their families, get jobs and call for help in emergencies.

Nick Sinai, the U.S. deputy chief technology officer, will speak at an event hosted by the Data Transparency Coalition on Tuesday.