FCC Outlines Its Net Neutrality Proposal

jgThe chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, today outlined a framework aimed at ensuring that both wireline and wireless carriers don’t discriminate against traffic traversing their networks based on the type of traffic or the application. We speculated on Friday that he would outline formal net neutrality principles today to augment the informal ones adopted back in 2005. The agency also unveiled a web site dedicated to tracking this issue at www.openinternet.gov.

Back in 2005, the FCC created a set of four principles that governed net neutrality on wired networks, but such principles weren’t codified through a formal rulemaking process (which has led to a lawsuit challenging the FCC’s right to enforce net neutrality at all). Today Genachowski set forth a framework by which those principles will become a formal rule and added two new ones. He plans to suggest that all six principles apply to both wired and wireless networks.

The firstĀ of the new principles would prevent Internet access providers from discriminating against particular Internet content or applications, while allowing for reasonable network management. The second would ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practices they implement. The other four 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.

In addition to expanding the principles, Genachowski is calling for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the October commission meeting. The NPRM will ask for feedback on the proposed rules and how the FCC should apply them. This is where we’ll see contention over which network management practices are reasonable, what information broadband providers should disclose about their network management practices and how the rules apply to differing platforms, including mobile Internet access services. The carriers will do a lot of grandstanding here, but there are some real technical issues that the FCC and consumers will have to understand. We’ll outline some of those in a later story today, after the speech. Update: And here’s that analysis.

loading

Comments have been disabled for this post