FCC chairman Julius Genachowski came out in support of tiered broadband plans and data caps in a one-on-one interview this morning at 2012 Cable Show in Boston. He says that "business model experimentation, usage-based pricing, could be a healthy and beneficial part of the [broadband] ecosystem." He went on to say that a usage-based model "could help drive efficiency in networks, increase consumer choice and competition, and increase fairness" in the broadband marketplace. While Genechowski didn't say that he thought the tiered data model was the only workable solution, he noted he and the FCC both didn't agree with "the point-of-view from a few years ago" that "there's only one permissible pricing model for broadband."

His comments come at a time when the practices of broadband operators (particularly Comcast) are a hot topic of discussion among net neutrality supporters. The combination of Xfinity TV for Xbox 360 not counting against a Comcast customer's bandwidth cap and the provider's recent decision to experiment with tiered broadband plans has raised some eyebrows, but it seems that at least the latter issue won't raise any eyebrows in the FCC's office.

T.C. Sottek contributed to this report.