By Tony Romm - 05/03/10 03:41 PM EDT
Industry leaders once thought Genachowski, a long-time net neutrality supporter, would attempt to enforce net neutrality using his agency's rule-making process. That effort to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, over which the FCC has statutory jurisdiction, would have returned to the commission its power to regulate broadband providers after a federal court found current law stipulated otherwise.
But top telecommunication and broadband companies have long balked at such an idea, stressing the FCC had no legal authority to strip broadband of its designation as an "information service," which the commission cannot directly regulate. Verizon even threatened to challenge reclassification efforts in court.
Genachowski has not yet made official any plans to punt on reclassifying broadband. But a decision not to travel that route would leave the highly partisan matter to a divided Congress ahead of a tough midterm election cycle. Fearing that would doom the issue, Free Press' Silver on Monday implored the agency to reconsider and take stronger action.
“This decision facing the FCC chairman is about more than one single issue, or even a broken promise to the American people. If the FCC fails to stand with the public, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it,” Silver said.