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FCC's Genachowski Proposes Modest Net Neutrality Expansion


The more fervent advocates of a tough Federal Communications Commission policy on network neutrality are likely to be disappointed by the relatively modest proposals announced by Chairman Julius Genachowski. But given that the fears of interference in Internet content by big telecommunications and cable operators have not come to pass, at least not yet, and the FCC?? limited mandate to regulate the Internet, Genachowski seems to be taking a measured and reasonable approach.

In a speech prepared for delivery at the Brookings Institution in Washington today, Genachowski proposed adding two new principles of network neutrality to the four adopted by the FCC in 2005. ??he first would prevent Internet access providers from discriminating against particular Internet content or applications, while allowing for reasonable network management,?Genachowski said. “The second principle would ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practices they implement. The Chairman also proposed clarifying that all six principles apply to all platforms that access the Internet.”

The last point is likely to be the most controversial, since it appears to refer to wireless access. It has not been clear whether the 2005 principles applied to wireless operators as well as wired Internet service providers.

The two new principles will be the basis of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the first step in the often lengthy process of FCC policy adoption. Once the notice is published, the public will be invited to comment.

The four existing net neutrality principles are:

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.


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