Free Press: Mobile Wireless Broadband Needs Net Rules

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Free Press Thursday told the Federal Communcations Commission there was no justification for exempting mobile wireless broadband from its proposed expansion and codification of network neutrality rules.

Free Press doesn't want a carve-out for managed services, either, but given that the FCC has suggested it might be predisposed to do so, pushed for a narrow exemption. Those are the specialized services that are delivered via broadband, but not over the public Internet.

"The record demonstrates no substantive technical or economic support for any form of exemption for mobile wireless services," Free Press said in reply comments to the FCC. The commission had asked for comment on whether it should apply the rules to mobile broadband or managed services. Thursday was the deadline for comment.

And while Free Press said that it did not think the FCC should give an exemption to specialized services either, it said that if the commission decides to do so, it should limit the scope of the exemption and that it could promote competition and access without Imposing substantive restrictions: on those services.

While specialized services can include telemedicine, distance learning and remote energy monitoring, Free Press is concerned that not applying open access rules would allow providers to build a pay-for-play platform, say for a video service, that "evades and eclipses" open access, said the group.

It has been over a year since the FCC proposed to codify its Internet openness principles and add ones on transparency and nondiscrimination. But the BitTorrent court decision reversing its smackdown of Comcast over blocking file uploads has put a crimp in that effort. The FCC is currently contemplating how to clarify its authority, but is not expected to take any action before the end of the year.