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Tip of the Hat: A solution to the FCC net neutrality problem

Law professor offers plan aimed at quieting both sides -- and warding off court challenges if it doesn't

By Mike Bucken
May 9, 2014 04:16 PM ET

Computerworld - Last month's leaking of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan for new net neutrality rules promptly elicited a firestorm of criticism from all sides of the political spectrum for its inclusion of two words -- "commercially reasonable."

Tip of the hat

The proposal is the first step in the FCC's effort to reinstate net neutrality rules struck down by a U.S. appeals court in January.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler came up with a plan and was set to release it publicly on May 15, when the full commission was scheduled to vote on the first phase of the process.

Then came the leaking of the proposal and the discovery that it would allow "commercially reasonable" deals by carriers. "When that proposal leaked," said Columbia University Law School Professor Tim Wu in a New Yorker story, "the chairman and his staff soon found that they'd stepped barefoot onto the third rail of online politics."

The uneasiness with the plan has also spread to Republican and Democratic commissioners, some of whom are calling for Wheeler to delay the May 15 vote.

Computerworld offers a Tip of the Hat to Wu for a clear explanation of what's going on and and a solution for Wheeler that could quiet both sides. In the story, The Solution to the FCC's Net-Neutrality Problems, Wu offers a solution that he says can withstand court challenges or even ward them off.

His plan is worth a close look by the commission and by critics of the net neutrality plan.

Read more about Internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

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