OIC: FCC Should Punt On Managed Services Call For Now


The Open Internet Coalition told the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday that it needs to go ahead and codify and expand its network neutrality rules, and that they should apply to wireless broadband, and to managed services.

The group, though, argues for not taking any action on the latter until the commission gets a better handle on just what those services are.

That came in response to the agency's request for more comment on those two issues, which were two of the key
sticking points in the failed attempt by top House lawmakers and stakeholders to come up with a legislative
response to the BitTorrent decision calling into question the FCC's broadband regulatory authority.

The coalition, which includes Google, amazon.com, Sling Media, Twitter, Free Press, Public Knowledge, and dozens
of others, said the FCC should not apply those principles to "edge providers" like app stores, but that wireless
carriers, if they struck exclusive deals, "must ensure that such app store operator or device manufacturer
operates consistently with the carrier's obligations under the open Internet principles."

While OIC acknowledges that there are differences between wired and wireless networks when it comes to network
management, it argues the "reasonable network management" carve-out the FCC is proposing is broad enough to
handle those differences, and says that the definition of reasonable does not have to be the same for both.

OIC argues that it is not yet clear just what managed services are, and so would be premature to adopt rules about them. "For example," it said in its filing, "the policy approach may be very different if specialized services were limited to services like telemedicine than if the services in this category competed directly with content, applications, and services offered by unaffiliated parties," like say, an online video service.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski last fall proposed codifying the FCC's network openness guidelines and expanding them with ones on transparency -- telling users how their information access is being managed -- and nondiscrimination, which means not blocking or degrading content or applications.

Agreement was generally reached on all those, but there was disagreement over their application to wireless and managed services that proved too high a hurdle. Moreover, there was Republicans' reluctance to hand the Democrats a victory on a bill motormanned by Democratic House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) so close to the election.