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Rockefeller fends off an ambush

In yesterday’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV) fended off an ambush. Julius Genachowski, the FCC Commissioner, sat alone before the Committee to discuss the National Broadband Plan (NBP). Knowing that several Committee members planned to hijack the hearing to focus on the recent Court decision surrounding the contentious issue of net neutrality, Rockefeller preempted them and effectively deflected the topic back onto the NBP. After thanking the FCC for their hard work, he quickly turned to addressing the Comcast vs. FCC decision and the “disheartening position that it has put us in”.

Turning the focus away from net neutrality, Rockefeller described his visit to the recent mine disaster in West Virginia where he was appalled and embarrassed by the lack of wireless connectivity for emergency crews and victim’s families. He was adamant in pushing to get these “gaps” in rural America’s connectivity remedied, and pressured Genachowski for a timetable of concrete plans to turn the over 200 recommendations in the NBP into action items. The Senator challenged the FCC Commissioner to “make the hard choices”, and use the authority the FCC has to implement the National Broadband Plan. He went on to add that “if there is a need to rewrite the law, then I will take on that challenge.” (See my previous blog: .)

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