Net Neutrality Talks Continue as Deadline Looms

Broadcasting & Cable reports that progress is being made in talks between the FCC and stakeholders. With a Sept. 2nd deadline looming, the FCC would probably like to have these meetings out of the way so they can make a decision on what to do next. Unfortunately, these meetings with stakeholders may prove to be fatal to key parts of the regulatory framework that the FCC and net roots groups were hoping to implement by reclassifying broadband and mobile services under Title II.

The report cites an investor note from Stifel Nicolaus Analyst Rebecca Arbogas, who says that "a general agreement that included concessions on wireless network neutrality by operators, commitments to a robust public Internet, and an expanded FCC role" are on the table. An anonymous source close to the talks also tells the publication that these negotiations "remained a work in progress."


Arbogas also wrote that she sees four possible outcomes:

The chairman could 1) float the draft but potentially withdraw it before the meeting depending on the reaction; 2) cite progress in the industry talks and delay the order until after the elections; 3) seek public comment on an industry agreement (if there is one); or 4) impose network neutrality rules tied to Title I authority.

The talks broke down after Google and Verizon decided to offer some recommendations outside of the closed door meeting held with the FCC. Now that the dust has settled on that business, the FCC has returned to the table to deal with the Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Microsoft, Dell and Cisco. AT&T, Verizon, Skype and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association are also part of these same talks.

While stakeholders have certainly had their fair share of time with the FCC, net roots groups have mostly been left out in the cold, and with Sept. 2 right around the corner, chances are they won’t be afforded the same level of attention that stakeholders have enjoyed for months.

Thursday is the FCC deadline for Chairman Julius Genachowski to decide just what to put on the agenda for the Sept. 23 meeting and to circulate a draft of a Title II reclassification to the other commissioners.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

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