FCC Proposes New Net Neutrality Rules


FCC chairman Julius Genachowski today proposed a set of new Internet neutrality rules relating to ISPs. CNET has more:

In a speech given at the Brookings Institute, Genachowski proposed that the FCC turn its four principles of network openness official into regulation. And he suggested that the FCC add two more “principles” as part of these new rules.

The existing principles can be summarized this way: Network operators cannot prevent users from accessing lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.

Now Genachowski is proposing two new principles. The first would prevent Internet access providers from discriminating against particular Internet content or applications, while allowing for reasonable network management. The second principle would ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practices they implement.

Genachowski tried to alleviate fears that the FCC will overstep its bounds and create rules that hamper innovation.

The FCC has created a new website, openinternet.gov http://openinternet.gov/, to promote discussion around the issue.

Genachowski assured AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon–staid fiends of net neutrality–that they could still implement tiered pricing structures if they wanted to. How they would justify charging by bandwidth usage if the FCC made that kind of thing illegal remains a mystery.

  • This is an important issue and it’s good to see that the new Chairman has moved to put Net Neutrality on the front burner of communications policy. His vision of an open Internet that preserves the “freedom to innovate without permission” is one that our organization, the Center for Democracy & Technology, shares; it’s an idea believe all Internet users and innovators should vigorously support. The move to expand the basic Internet principles the agency laid out in 2005 by to include nondiscrimination and transparency addressed two areas where we thought the original principles fell short.

    Ideally, the launch of FCC proceedings would prompt Congress to take up the matter too. CDT has long said that FCC activity on Internet neutrality would benefit from clear congressional guidance, authorization, and limits, so that the FCC’s task and regulatory authority are not open-ended. You can read more about our thoughts on this by looking at our more inclusive comments we submitted to the FCC on its overall Broadband Plan. http://www.cdt.org/speech/20090608_broadband_comments.pdf