FCC Schedules Broadband Hearing at Stanford University

WASHINGTON - Though Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin recently said he wouldn't schedule a second network-management hearing at Stanford University, the agency has reconsidered.

The FCC said on Wednesday that it will hold a field hearing on April 17 on Stanford's campus in Palo Alto, Calif. The FCC has not stated a time for the hearing or who will speak.

During the first field hearing, which was held in February in Cambridge, Mass., five commissioners allowed representatives from Comcast, BitTorrent and Verizon to speak on the subject, alongside scholars from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Law School.   

The FCC said the second hearing will cover issues similar to those raised in the first hearing, including "reasonable" network management by Internet service providers.

Martin said a recent discussion with Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessing convinced him that a second hearing would be beneficial.

Martin said the hearing would influence the FCC's timetable for acting on a pending complaint against Comcast's network management practices. He said he hoped action would occur by the end of the second quarter of this year.

The hearing will open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Seats are expected to go quickly, as they did at the Massachusetts hearing, where Comcast hired attendees.

The FCC is accepting comments on broadband network management practices through its website.