By Kim Hart - 01/12/10 03:25 PM EST
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts had a private meeting with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last Friday in Las Vegas to talk about net neutrality and the national broadband plan according to agency records.
It may have been an awkward conversation, as Friday was an embarrassing day for the FCC on both counts.
On Friday, the FCC had a very rough day in a D.C. courtroom as judges pointedly questioned the agency's authority to censure Comcast for interfering with Internet traffic back in 2008. The arguments from the U.S. Court of Appeals could throw a wrench in the FCC's plans to enact net neutrality regulations, especially if the court ultimately finds doing so oversteps the agency's jurisdiction. That would be a giant set-back for the Obama administration, for which net neutrality is a key priority.
Nonetheless, the FCC is going forward with its examination of net neutrality rules. Comments are due to the agency Thursday. Comcast and other Internet service providers, including AT&T, have vehemently fought against such regulations of the Internet. Comcast says the FCC didn't jump through the necessary administrative hoops when it issued an order against the company two years ago. Comcast's top governmental affairs executive David Cohen said in a blog post that it supports the FCC's current process to "bring some clarity to this unsettled area."
Genachowski on Friday was fielding questions about a one-month delay in turning in the National Broadband Plan to Congress. News broke late Thursday night that the FCC needs more time and asked for an extension, drawing criticism that the FCC should have spent more time on the plan rather than kicking off controversial net neutrality rules.