FCC to Push Neutrality

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Washington — In the battle ahead
for net neutrality, advocates can count
on Julius Genachowski. Th e Federal
Communications Commission chairman
last week pledged to insure network
neutrality regardless of the current
court battle.

At opening remarks for an open Internet
field hearing in Seattle, the chairman
pointed out that it was only down
the road a piece in Hillsboro, Ore., that
Comcast’s secret blocking of “lawful Internet
traffic” was discovered.

That discovery and others, he said,
“made clear that an Internet in the dark
runs too great a risk of becoming a closed
Internet — with substantial costs to our
ability to lead the world in innovation
and freedom.”

A federal court earlier this month threw
out the FCC smackdown of Comcast over
that discovery, saying the commission
had not clearly established its authority
to regulate network management, or, in
the FCC’s view, mismanagement.

“The recent court decision was, of
course, an unfortunate development. But
it has done nothing to weaken my unwavering
commitment to ensuring that the
free and open Internet is preserved and
protected,” he said. “Doing so is crucial
for the health of our broadband ecosystem;
crucial to the health of our economy
and our democracy; crucial for ensuring
free speech and for new speakers to continue
to flourish online.”

The FCC’s lawyers are currently considering
their next step, which could be
to classify broadband as a Title II telecommunications
service subject to more
strict regulation — like mandatory access
— than it is under its current Title I
information service designation.