FCC Chairman Genachowski’s Proposal on Net Neutrality

Today, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, issued a statement outlining a proposal to codify the open Internet principles and provide some resolution to the net neutrality debate. If adopted by the FCC in a hearing scheduled for December 21st, the new rules would represent a significant step forward in protecting users and innovation on the Internet.  No doubt, the rules will not be perfect, nor achieve all of the aims sought by net neutrality proponents.  As a whole, they represent major progress and reflect a delicate balance of the concerns of an array of stakeholders with often competing interest.

As proposed, the rules will establish needed non-discrimination, no blocking, and transparency principles for wireline communications.  On the wireless side,  it will establish rules that will prohibit blocking by carriers of lawful web sites or competitive voice, video, or telephony services, and require transparency in network management practices.

We urge the FCC to continue its efforts to promote rules that encourage a single framework regardless of the type of network.  In the long term, there is “one Internet” and the rules should be the same for wired and wireless transport particularly given the importance and growth of wireless Internet access. Nonetheless, we’re pleased by the Commission’s efforts to protect the Internet and the qualities that have made it both so valuable and transformative.

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