Sat 16 Jan, 2010 01:20 am
-boys never were
big fans of anything that included Free
(in it's title).[/CENTER]
"The Federal Communications Commission is considering aggressive moves to stake out its authority to oversee consumer access to the Internet
, as a recent court hearing and industry opposition have cast doubt on its power over Web service providers.
The FCC, which regulates public access to telephone and television services, has been working to claim the same role for the Internet.
The stakes are high, as the Obama administration pushes an agenda of open broadband access for all
and big corporations work to protect their enormous investments in a new and powerful medium.
The appeals court is still hearing the case, but analysts predict that the FCC will lose and that the ruling could throw all of its efforts to oversee Internet access into question.
A loss could undermine the legality of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's push for policies that would prohibit service providers from restricting customers' access to legal Web content -- the concept known as net neutrality -- and throw into doubt the agency's ability to oversee pricing and competition among Internet service providers.
Analysts said the FCC may look to put broadband services back into a category alongside phone services that is clearly under the authority of the government
At issue, some FCC officials say, is the future of how Americans will communicate and receive information.
"While I am still hopeful that we'll win the case, I am absolutely certain that consumers expect protection against gatekeeper control,"
said Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat. "That's why we need to move forward with whatever tools we have at our disposal to ensure an open Internet."