Network neutrality fan John Kerry renewed his call for an Open Internet, but also called on parties on both sides of the issue to cool the rhetoric.
Responding to the Federal Communications Commission's announcement that it is seeking more comment on its network neutrality rulemaking proposal, which will put off any decision until at least the end of the year, Kerry said that he understood the strong "beliefs and interests" being expressed. However, he said that "rather than retreat to our predictable corners, this should be a time when everyone takes a deep breath and continues to engage in a constructive process."
In calling for comment on applying open access to wireless broadband and allowing specialized services allow for paid priority outside the public Internet, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski also pointed to a meeting of the minds among stakeholders on many of the issues in the rulemaking. Kerry echoed that, and even borrowed the FCC's characterization of the growing agreement as a "narrowing of disagreement."
The Senator said that all "responsible parties" now agree that broadband should fall within the scope of the FCC and that networks should not pick winners and losers. That, he said, is progress.
Kerry also said he was actively working on a legislative solution to insuring an open Internet was preserved and promoted, and added that in the meantime, the FCC has the "authority, ability, and responsibility" to preserve that openness "with or without a new law."
Kerry's call for calm and constructive dialog is notable given his passion for the issue. Last April, he blogged a call to
arms on the issue, asking Daily Kos readers to contact their senators after the "travesty" of the BitTorrent decision and in the face of networks who wanted to "throttle traffic" as they wish.