Genachowski Warns Of WCIT Proposals

FCC Chairman Says 'Sender Pay' Approaches

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski warned an audience at the Futurecom conference in Rio de Janeiro Wednesday that some of the proposals being teed up for a December international telecom treaty conference in Dubai could fundamentally threaten the Internet, turning a "virtuous cycle of innovation and investment" into a "vicious cycle of lower broadband demand and less infrastructure investment."

Genachowksi, the Obama administration, and even congressional Republicans and Democrats are on the same page that it would be unwise to move away from the multistakeholder model of internet governance to a top-down, government-oriented model.

"There are proposals that seek to impose on the Internet a new layer of outdated, heavy-handed regulatory structures and to alter how Internet traffic is exchanged - calling for a so-called "sender pays" approach," he said. "Other proposals would involve the International Telecommunication Union [an arm of the UN]in regulating cybersecurity, or could be used by countries to support monitoring and restrictions on online communications."

None of that fits with Genachowski's vision of an open Internet. "Proposals like these will harm broadband-related innovation and investment throughout the world," eh said, "and particularly in less developed countries. They will increase uncertainty and raise costs for online innovators everywhere, and could significantly limit access to Internet content and applications for consumers in developing countries, which will in turn suppress demand for broadband."

He told his audience to reject calls to have the ITU involved in cybersecurity or for governments to be involved in content control.

"Changes to Internet governance that suppress innovation will not drive broadband deployment," he said. "The opposite is true."

The World Conference of International Telecommunications will be held in Dubai during December.