FCC's Open Internet Committee to Hold First Meeting July 20


The Federal Communications Commission has set July 20 as the date for the first meeting of its Open Internet Advisory Committee (OIAC), which is charged with monitoring the effects of the commission's Open Internet rules.

The OIAC will "observe market developments regarding the freedom and openness of the Internet and will focus in particular on issues such as transparency, reasonable network management practices, differences in treatment of fixed and mobile broadband services, specialized services, and technical standards," according to the FCC.

The FCC says the first meeting will be primarily procedural, but may also get into some of those issues.

The committee is chaired by Harvard law and computer science professor Jonathan Zittrain and co-chaired by MIT research scientist David Clark. Also on the 21-member committee is Kevin McElearney, senior vice president of network engineering for Comcast.

It was Comcast's challenge to the FCC's BitTorrent decision sanctioning Comcast's disruption of peer-to-peer file transfer that helped spur the FCC's codification and expansion of its Internet openness principles after a court threw out the FCC's ruling.

The creation of the multistakeholder advisory committee was part of a rule compromise that included cable and phone stakeholders working to avoid the "nuclear option" of classification of Internet access as a telecom service subject to mandatory access rules.

The rules have been in effect since last fall, and there have so far been no official FCC complaints about discrimination, though there has been some concern from activist groups and some over-the-top providers about data caps and private network content deliver, the latter which the FCC exempted from neutrality rules with a pledge to monitor the marketplace and weigh in if needed.