Genachowski Outlines FCC Net Neutrality Principles
September 21, 2009 at 2:20 PM (PT)
FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI made it official and announced his proposals to preserve "net neutrality" in a speech at the BROOKINGS INSTITUTION in WASHINGTON TODAY (9/21). GENACHOWSKI, extending the Commission’s existing four "open Internet" principles of open access to consumers’ choice of content, applications and services and the ability to attach "non-harmful" devices to the Net.
He also added two more, one preventing ISPs from discriminating against certain content or applications, and the other requiring transparency for network management principles. GENACHOWSKI made it clear that the six principles apply to all platforms accessing the Net.
"The Internet is an extraordinary platform for innovation, job creation, investment, and opportunity. It has unleashed the potential of entrepreneurs and enabled the launch and growth of small businesses across AMERICA," said GENACHOWSKI. "It is vital that we safeguard the free and open Internet."
GENACHOWSKI will raise the issue of codifying the principles through a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the Commission’s OCTOBER meeting. The Commission has also launched a website to get public input for the issue.
McDowell, Baker: Hey, Slow Down!
In a joint statement that may indicate some resistance to GENACHOWSKI on the Commission, Republican Commissioners ROBERT MCDOWELL and MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER complained that GENACHOWSKI failed to share his proposals with them before announcing them to the public. GENACHOWSKI’s Republican predecessor KEVIN MARTIN was harshly criticized for not working with other Commissioners on various issues.
MCDOWELL and BAKER wrote, "We hope that all of the stakeholders affected by the Chairman’s proposed endeavor have sufficient time to investigate the facts thoroughly and deliberate openly before the Commission acts to codify more government involvement in the Internet space. Although we have not been given any draft or summary of proposed net neutrality rules, it is clear from the Chairman’s statements that they will be monumental in their scope. In the meantime, we are concerned that both factual and legal conclusions may have been drawn before the process has begun. Nonetheless, we look forward to reviewing any and all compelling evidence that may be developed in the record that illustrates the palpable harms that many allege. We do not believe that the Commission should adopt regulations based merely on anecdotes, or in an effort to alleviate the political pressures of the day, if the facts do not clearly demonstrate that a problem needs to be remedied.
"At the outset, however, this dramatic proposal to grow government’s involvement in Internet governance and management would appear to be a reversal of decades of precedent and of the CLINTON-GORE Administration’s bipartisan policy to allow a diverse assortment of technical experts, rather than politicians and bureaucrats, working in loosely knit non-governmental organizations to make such engineering decisions. Many unanswered questions lie ahead. For instance, with the Internet being a global network of networks, today’s statement does nothing to address the effect new rules may have on encouraging additional foreign government control of the Internet."