Public Knowledge Launches Campaign For Net Neutrality

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Net neutrality fan Public Knowledge has launched an online campaign to encourage Congressional action--but not legislation -- on network neutrality.

In an e-mail to supporters Monday, the group pointed to last week's official break-down of FCC-brokered negotiations on a legislative solution and the related news that Google and Verizon had come to a meeting of the minds on managing network traffic. They called it a "critical crossroads" at which "some of the largest corporations on the web are lining up to put an end to the open Internet as we know it."

But Public Knowledge wasn't looking for legislation from Congress. It asked its members to customize an online form letter to their legislator saying the FCC needs to step in with the authority Congress has already given it.

Industry players had been the ones looking for legislation, arguing it was preferable to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed "third way" to clarifying the FCC's broadband regulatory authority.

The chairman's proposal is to classify Internet service provision under some Title II common carrier regs so that it could enforce rules on network management, access, transparency and nondiscrimination.

That is the route Public Knowledge is backing, saying the FCC "needs to finish the job it has started to re-establish clear rules of the road for broadband Internet providers now." That would also include approving its proposed rulemaking expanding and codifying its network openness guidelines, which arguably needs the "third way" underpinning if it wants to pass court muster.

FCC sources continue to look to the FCC's September or October meeting for the declaratory ruling on the "third way." Since it is a reclassification and not new rules, it does not require an official rulemaking process.

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