FCC Chairman Takes Stand For Internet Users With Net Neutrality Proposal

September 21, 2009

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed the FCC adopt as existing principles to keep the Internet open, and he also added two additional principles to adopt – non-discrimination and transparency/disclosure of network management practices.

Genachowski spoke on the need to preserve network neutrality at the Brookings Institution Monday. He said the rise of challenges to the open public Internet puts the nation at a crossroads. He said that doing nothing would be a “dangerous retreat” from core principles of openness and freedom that has made the Internet so successful and so critical as a tool for innovation and communication.

He said adding a prohibition on discrimination to existing principles would mean the Internet Service Providers could not discriminate against particular Internet content or applications. This way, Internet users would decide what content and applications succeed and ISPs can still do network management – especially to handle heavy volume Internet users. The transparency principle would be implemented by new disclosure rules that ISPs would have to be transparent about the network management practices they employ.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association agrees with Genachowski’s statement that a free and open Internet benefits consumers and business alike and that waiting too long to preserve a free and open Internet would be too late.

The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“CCIA is pleased to learn that the FCC is going to work on strengthening access to the open Internet by preserving the neutrality we have all come to rely on, so that ISPs will not discriminate among end users, content or applications. The agency has the support of the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and many other Members of Congress in this endeavor. Access to an open public Internet is characteristic of most industrialized democracies around the world where people wonder why it is controversial here.

“Adding rules for nondiscrimination and transparency/disclosure of network management practices would keep the open, robust Internet so many people and businesses rely on in their daily lives. CCIA supports these principles and would urge the FCC to adopt them.”

“With so many people depending on the Internet throughout the day to do business, search for information and connect with family and friends this announcement that Genachowski will work with the FCC for these core principles is a welcome relief. This proposal fulfills a commitment to Internet openness made during President Obama’s campaign.

“All those working together to expand high speed broadband access across the country recognize the value of this service for businesses of all sizes and Internet users. We all agree Internet service is too valuable to leave some Americans behind because of where they live. But Internet users need access not just to high speed service, but also unfettered access to content online whether it’s free or for purchase. Basic Internet access is too valuable to allow huge portions of available capacity to be hijacked by private deals with large corporations.

“Broadband adoption has been a prominent concern expressed by ISPs in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan proceeding. Where broadband infrastructure is available, households will finder greater value in monthly broadband access subscriptions if they offer access to all relevant online content and applications, including new and innovative services.

“The FCC will not regulate the Internet. But neither should a few large corporations. CCIA supports reasonable network management and even higher prices for top bandwidth consumers. Greater broadband capacity build-out and competition should be the ultimate goal, not private control of online activities.

Adding nondiscrimination and transparency rules would provide reassurances that whoever controls the pipe will not also control content.”


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