Report: FCC will formalize Net neutrality rule
The agency doesn't want Internet providers selectively blocking or slowing traffic
IDG News Service - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to create formal rules against Internet providers selectively blocking or slowing traffic, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce Net neutrality rulemaking during a speech Monday, the Journal reported. Net neutrality rules would prohibit Internet providers from blocking or slowing their customers' access to Web sites or Web applications. A FCC spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking confirmation of the Journal story.
Since mid-2005, the FCC has said it will enforce four broadband policy principles, saying consumers have a right to access the legal Internet content of their choice, and they are entitled to run Web applications and services of their choice.
But the FCC has never made formal Net neutrality rules. Broadband provider Comcast filed a lawsuit challenging the FCC's authority to enforce the principles after the agency ruled last August that Comcast had to stop slowing peer-to-peer traffic in the name of network management.
Genachowski is planning on launching a formal rulemaking process on Net neutrality, the Journal reported. The rules would apply not only to wireline broadband providers, but also to wireless networks run by companies such as AT&T and Verizon, the newspaper said.
Rulemaking could give the FCC more authority to enforce Net neutrality. A bill in the U.S. Congress would also spell out that the FCC has that authority.
Net neutrality advocates welcomed the news.
"The Internet was created and grew up under strict nondiscrimination rules," said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a digital rights advocacy group. "Those same ideas are as valuable today as they were 10 years ago. Having rules in place will bring a degree of certainty that will help both carriers and consumers alike. Carriers will know what is allowed and what is not; consumers will be relieved to know they will be able to have access to any content and service on a nondiscriminatory basis."
Some critics have suggested Net neutrality rules would hamper investment in new broadband pipes, because the broadband providers could not control what runs over their networks.
Sohn disagreed. "Rather, as in the past, they will encourage investment in the kinds of innovation and technology that will help move our economy forward," she said.
Free Press, a media reform group, called the rulemaking a "big win for consumers."
A representative of Comcast declined to comment pending Genachowski's speech. Verizon Wireless will wait until Genachowski's speech before making a comment, a spokesman of that company said.
But Randolph May, president of conservative think tank the Free State Foundation, said it is "discouraging" that the FCC is considering new broadband regulations.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Increase IT Performance from the Enterprise to the Cloud with WAN Optimization Massive consolidation and data mobility, enabled by virtualization, have radically altered how we build servers, design applications, and deploy storage for the emerging...
- Live Webcast
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior This scientific white paper, using statistical data from Amakai's streaming network, analyzes how changes in video quality cause changes in viewer behavior.
- Service-Enabling CICS Applications: Best Practices This informative webcast provides an informed, thorough look into CICS service-enablement options and how they can affect your environment. You'll learn how to... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts