FCC official says Comcast ruling may impact broadband plan

* Sees potential impact to several recommendations of plan

* Says ruling has no effect on most of the plan

SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (BestGrowthStock) – A top Federal
Communications Commission official acknowledged on Wednesday
that the Obama administration’s ambitious plan to expand
broadband access could be impacted by a court ruling that
limited the agency’s authority to regulate operations of
network providers.

Austin Schlick, the General Counsel of the FCC, wrote in a
blog post on Wednesday that FCC recommendations aimed at
accelerating broadband access in rural parts of the U.S. as
well as connecting disabled and low-income Americans, were
among the various provisions of the recently unveiled broadband
plan that could be affected.

“We are assessing the implications of yesterday’s decision
for each one, to ensure that the Commission has adequate
authority to execute the mission laid out in the plan,” Schlick
wrote.

His comment follows Monday’s decision by the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the District Court of Columbia Circuit. In the
decision, a three judge-panel ruled that the FCC failed to show
that it had the necessary authority to stop Comcast Corp
(CMCSA.O: ) from blocking the use of applications for
distributing television shows and other large,
bandwidth-hogging files over the Internet.

The ruling dealt a blow to proponents of Net Neutrality,
who argue that providers should treat all traffic on the
Internet equally, as well as to the FCC’s authority to oversee
the Internet.

Schlick said on Wednesday that the ruling has no effect at
all on most of agency’s broadband plan. But he listed more than
a half-dozen plan recommendations on aspects like
cybersecurity, consumer privacy and low-income access which he
said could be affected.

The FCC unveiled its broadband plan in March, in a proposal
that calls for upgrading Internet access for all Americans and
shifting spectrum from television broadcasters to support the
huge demand for smartphones and other wireless devices.

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(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic with additional reporting by
Jeremy Pelofsky)

FCC official says Comcast ruling may impact broadband plan