FCC Pushing Net Neutrality Rules That Focus More On Network Providers, Less on Software Makers
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is pushing for new open-Internet rules that would focus more on broadband network providers than on software and applications firms such as Yahoo, Google, and Amazon, according to a source in the agency and sources outside the agency who are familiar with the contents of a draft proposal.
Current guidelines in place at the FCC call equally for open-Internet practices from network access providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Sprint Nextel; and applications, service and content providers such as Skype, Microsoft, and Google. The new regulations envisioned by Genachowski would apply net neutrality requirements more heavily on the broadband network providers, the sources said.
On Oct. 22, the FCC will vote on a proposal to create new net neutrality rules. If the rulemaking proposal is approved next week by the five-member commission, the FCC will begin what is expected to be a months-long process of drawing up new rules governing the degree to which Internet service providers can control content on their networks. The proposed policies, announced last month by Genachowski, would prohibit carriers from acting as the Web's gatekeepers and allow consumers to get whatever legal services and content they want.
The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the draft of the proposal that has been circulated to staff at the FCC is not yet public.
Specifically, the language in the 4th principle of an Internet policy statement at the FCC reads:
"To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."
According to sources, that language is rewritten in the draft proposal by Genachowski and has been changed in a way that suggests broadband access providers cannot impair competition for Web applications, service and content providers.
October 14, 2009; 5:24 PM ET
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