‘Fourth Way’ Talks Underway

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WASHINGTON — With help from
both sides of the networkneutrality
debate, the Federal
Communications Commission
continues to seek a legislative
answer to broadband oversight
questions.

After meeting with representatives
of Google, Skype
and the Open Internet Coalition
early last week, Edward
Lazarus, chief of staff to FCC
chairman Julius Genachowski,
met last Tuesday (July 13) with
National Cable & Telecommunications
Association president
Kyle McSlarrow, AT&T senior vice
president James Cicconi and Verizon
Communications executive
vice president Tom Tauke about
“details relating to prospective
legislation regarding open Internet
principles,” according to an
ex parte filing at the FCC.

Topics discussed included
prohibitions on blocking legal
content and interfering with
attachment of non-harmful
devices; possible legislative
language for a nondiscrimination
principle; treatment of
specialized services; transparency
of broadband Internet
service performance and
network-management practices;
an enforcement regime
to protect consumers; and the
application of some aspect
of the principles to wireless
platforms.

Brokering a solution that
providers and networkneutrality
supporters could sign
off on, and legislators would
pass (no small feat), would clarify
the intent of Congress, which
the FCC is attempting to
interpret through the chairman’s
“third way” proposal
for reclassifying broadband
under some portions of Title II
common-carrier regulations.

Along with McSlarrow,
Tauke and Cicconi, Richard
Whitt of Google and Markham
Erickson of the Open Internet
Coalition have abeen active
in discussions about targeted
legislation clarifying FCC authority
to regulate network
management and access without
reclassifying broadband as
a common-carrier service. The
FCC has begun taking comments
on options for clarifying
its authority.

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