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Posted at 4:07 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Net neutrality rules poised to win FCC approval

By Cecilia Kang

Updated 5:09 p.m.
The Federal Communications Commission is poised on Tuesday to pass net neutrality regulations, rules that would for the first time prevent Internet service providers from blocking or giving preferential treatment to Web sites on their networks.

The FCC's proposal will receive support from a majority of the five-member commission, after intense lobbying. Telecom and cable companies have said that the new rules could deter them from expanding broadband Internet connections and bolstering speeds. On the other side, Internet giants such as Google and Skype, along with public interest groups, have for years pushed for such regulation, saying the increased importance of the Internet calls for clear rules to ensure that consumers get equal access to all legal Web sites and applications.

The rules would prevent Internet service providers from blocking Web sites and applications on Internet lines feeding into U.S. homes. Those carriers -- such as Comcast and AT&T -- could not deliberately slow down one Web site over another. The rules frown on the practice of charging Web sites for better or faster delivery, but observers say that practice would not be strictly prohibited.

Wireless networks would not be covered as broadly by the rules. An FCC official said carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel would be prohibited from blocking competing voice and videoconferencing applications. Any other practices would have to be disclosed by the carriers.

Democratic commissioners Michael J. Copps and Mignon Clyburn said they will support the proposal by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Copps said in a statement that he cannot vote "wholeheartedly" for Genachowski's proposal and that the rules don't have everything he believes should be included in regulations.

"But I believe we have been able to make the current iteration better than what was originally circulated. If vigilantly and vigorously implemented by the Commission -- and if upheld by the courts -- it could represent an important milestone in the ongoing struggle to safeguard the awesome opportunity-creating power of the open Internet," Copps said in a statement. "While I cannot vote wholeheartedly to approve the item, I will not block it by voting against it. I instead plan to concur so that we may move forward."

In a separate statement, Clyburn said she will also vote in favor of the rules, though she had expressed concerns that wireless consumers wouldn't be protected as strongly under Genachowski's regulations.

"The Commission has worked tirelessly to offer a set of guidelines that, while not as strong as they could be, will nonetheless protect consumers as they explore, learn, and innovate online," she said.

Related stories:
Stay tuned: how the FCC could determine future of Internet TV

FCC net neutrality plan gets picked apart by all sides

Senator Hutchison moves to block funds to FCC related to net neutrality

By Cecilia Kang  | December 20, 2010; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  FCC, Net Neutrality  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Former FCC chief counsel places bets on net neutrality success
Next: The Circuit: FCC vote, Internet TV, Google vs. Connecticut

Comments

"Telecom and cable companies watch the order, saying it could deter them from expanding broadband Internet connections and invest in bolstering speeds."

Figures. Every time you try to regulate these pirates to prevent them from screwing consumers and/or competitors, they issue all kinds of dire warnings, few of which -- if any -- ever come to pass. But, of course, Congressional stooges, mostly Republicans like Kay Bailey Hutchison, continue to parrot the industry line. The stench of corruption hangs heavy in the air.

Posted by: CopyKinetics | December 20, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Aw Jeez! Let's assume the FCC does pass the co-called net neutrality regs. How long do you suppose before they'll become effective? Another year, two years, more?

For example it took Congress 45 years to listen to citizens and finally make it illegal (last week) for advertisers and TV broadcasters to drastically increase the TV volume when commercials come on. And, yes, President Obama signed the CALM Act. But they've given the FCC a year to come up with the regulations and then another year for broadcasteers to prepare to finally lower the blasting volume. Who really believes they can't successfully do it tomorrow? It makes you feel as if the additional years-worth of time just allows them to figure out to nullify or wreck it. Please let's do actually "move forward." Ethic Soup has a good post:

http://www.ethicsoup.com/2010/12/loud-tv-commercials-banned-president-signs-calm-act.html

Posted by: s_mceachern | December 20, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Telecom and cable companies watch the order, saying it could deter them from expanding broadband Internet connections and invest in bolstering speeds"

That is a lie and they know it. If one or two choose not to invest in faster or more widely available broadband others will come in and do so and they will perish. I would suggest that people stop investing in these ISP's, not as a protest but because they claim they will implement practices that will hurt the value of their company. I can only assume that their management are a bunch of idiots.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | December 20, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This Net Neutrality is a joke. Only a portion of what's involved is reported in the article. It will be a victory for Comcast, because of the main important tiered pricing component written into the rules. It will be a Internet for those who can pay (aka: The Rich). Net Neutrality is something Obama wanted (further explaining why he voted to let the telecoms off the hook for spying on us). Who's paying your bills Obama; the communications lobby?

Posted by: steve_j | December 20, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

You can't just write regulations overnight. There are a lot of hoops that have to be jumped through before regulations can be promulgated. True, McCeachern it would be nice for it to be done overnight, but the process doesn't work that way. And, it would literally take an act of congress to change the process, so good luck with that I guess.

Posted by: raheaberlin | December 20, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The government definitely should control the movement of information. They should start with the Post's printing presses.

Posted by: jy151310 | December 20, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"The rules frown on the practice of charging Web sites for better or faster delivery, but observers say that practice would not be strictly prohibited."

Well, that's the most miserable sentence in this whole piece, isn't it?

Posted by: kingpigeon | December 20, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Gee I thought the EPA would be the agency to foment violent revolution. Looks like it'll be the FCC with their incessant attempt suppress freedom of speech.

Posted by: hammeresq | December 20, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Om the whole the tax deal is a pragmatic compromise.Perhaps a corollary benefit will be improved bipartisan cooperation for the good of the country. The divisive rhetoric and obstructionism of the past two years have accomplished nothing and harmed all of us. Let's act like a united people with respect for one another and our primary loyalty: to our fellow citizens, not one political party over the other. Grace becomes both winners and losers and benefits all in the long run.

Good for us that DADT has been repealed. Now let's tackle the Dream Act again.

Here is where American values should triumph.

Posted by: castleb | December 20, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Another example of an administrative agency acting far beyond the scope of their constitutional authority. Is it blatantly obvious to anyone else that the timing of this is deliberate? The end of a lame-duck session, during the holidays, is no time to make such a momentous move unless there's hanky panky afoot. If the FCC thinks that free speech on the Internet will go quietly into their good night, they've got more thinks coming. It seems that it's high time the spotlight was on them. The words "house cleaning" and "purge" come to mind...

Posted by: konastephen | December 20, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The government should not be regulating the internet. Call your elected officials immediately and tell them "Hands Off".

The internet is working just fine. Once they get their foot in the door "Whoa Nelly" !!!

You'll never be able to get back. Costs will go up, network capabilities will take a back seat and they will tax all purchases.

Everyone will be pining for the "good 'ol days".

Make that call NOW!!!!

Posted by: dswift11 | December 20, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

These regs are no good. They are weak and not in the public' best interest. Read this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-franken/the-most-important-free-s_b_798984.html?ir=Politics

Posted by: cfw0905 | December 20, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Good for them. The first step in holding those damned blood-thirsty sharks at bay.

Posted by: MadamDeb | December 20, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who think this is limiting free speech and fixing something that's not broken, you've been fed a load of malarkey. The Internet is NOT "just fine." Unless you think it's fine for ISPs like Comcast to refuse to download Netflix movies to customers because they also offer such a service. That's NOT Net Neutrality; that's Big Money Gets Their Way Again.

Posted by: MadamDeb | December 20, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

The net-neutrality debate has not been "honest". Those opposed to net-neutrality tend to present it as an engineering issue, the right to manage the flow of information. Difficult to argue against that, but that is a misleading assertion. What those opposed to net-neutrality really want is the ability to filter, read(wiretap), and censor the flow of your packets for corporate reasons. There have already been some isolated instances of companies refusing to pass packets to competing companies. If if there is not a direct competitor, a company may censor your ability to communicate for ulterior motives.

Posted by: SteveR1 | December 20, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Um, Madam, methinks the malarkey is what you've been eating. "Big Money Gets Their Way Again" is what is more commonly referred to as entrepreneurship and the free market. It's a pillar of the American Dream. It's something we treasure in this country. Those who don't want to use Comcast as an ISP can and do use other ISPs. Freedom of economic choice (you've heard of choice) is a close cousin to freedom of speech and both are under attack by this administration.

Posted by: konastephen | December 20, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I see it as a greater infringement on my speech if I can't access any legal website I want to. Net Neutrality means the ISPs have to treat Internet content neutrally and not favor or limit one site over another. How does a policy that gives me MORE choice limit my free speech? I keep hearing people say this and it just makes no sense to me. I can use Verizon's service to access a Comcast/Universal website thanks to this policy, which could theoretically be challenging without it if Verizon chose to limit my access to Comcast-owned websites.

As for switching ISPs, it's not as easy as you think. Just like many people have only one cable company to select from, they may only have one or two ISPs to select from, especially depending on an area's broadband access.

Posted by: wogieta | December 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Um, Madam, methinks the malarkey is what you've been eating. "Big Money Gets Their Way Again" is what is more commonly referred to as entrepreneurship and the free market. It's a pillar of the American Dream. It's something we treasure in this country. Those who don't want to use Comcast as an ISP can and do use other ISPs. Freedom of economic choice (you've heard of choice) is a close cousin to freedom of speech and both are under attack by this administration.

=====

Hey, I'm all for Comcast building a network and doing what they will with it without using the monopoly and eminent domain powers given them by the Federal Government. Seeing that their current network is built using eminent domain and monopoly powers delegated to them by the government, I see nothing wrong with the regulation of their increasingly vertically integrated business model, lest they become the Standard Oil of the 21st century.

Posted by: robert17 | December 20, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought Net Neutrality was a no brainer--I am paying for xMB up and xMB down, 24x7. To me the Net Neutrality rule could be as simple as a few short sentences and immediately implemented. If I am paying for Internet Service/Access, whether wired or wireless, what I access, send, or receive should be strictly my own business. And my provider should not filter or slow it in favor of their own company or paying partner or advertiser. Anything less is simply wrong.

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | December 20, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

castleb,

Not sure where DADT came into this discussion, but it is an abomination. And the nightmare DREAM Act. Pure amnesty at the expense of American citizens and legal residents. American values should start with solid moral standards and thinking about Americans first before giving away everything to undeserving illegal aliens who are bankrupting us, taking our jobs, taking seats in schools away from Americans, and thumbing their noses at our culture, laws, and morals. Illegal is illegal and people who've built their life on criminal behavior have not business getting rewarded by the American government or the American people. Deport them is the correct and only viable answer.

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | December 20, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Who the hell is complaining about this stuff. It can't be us regular everyday Americans. Who cares if some website jumps ahead of another. It's no skin off my nose.

Posted by: Jackets | December 20, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Why does Ms. Kang repeat the government euphemism "net neutrality" in her writing. These euphemisms, like "Dream Act", do nothing to inform but are effective in confusing and misleading the public. Repeating these euphemisms makes the Post sound like a mouthpiece for the government.

If the article correctly identified the FCC as creating new federal restrictions on the use of the internet, the Post's readers might come away with a better sense as to what the restrictions mean to them.

Posted by: concernedcitizen3 | December 20, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the public will get good information about which providers are truly neutral and which aren't when this is implemented.

Otherwise, it might be nice if Congress regulated the wild West. I hate what they did to my cable bill.

Posted by: SarahBB | December 20, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

These thugs at the FCC whose aim is to kill net neutrality should be treated public criminals.

Posted by: kevin1231 | December 20, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Net neutrality is opposed by the GOP. The last election ensures that there will not be a law passed in congress protecting net neutrality. The FCC's ruling will be overturned by the (Republican) majority on the supreme court. And, that will be that. Some day people will be talking about the "good old days" of net neutrality.
Level playing fields of any kind do not exist for long in our society.

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Posted by: goodlucky82 | December 20, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Better idea: Abolish the FCC.

Posted by: thebump | December 20, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Um, Madam, methinks the malarkey is what you've been eating. "Big Money Gets Their Way Again" is what is more commonly referred to as entrepreneurship and the free market. It's a pillar of the American Dream. It's something we treasure in this country.

Posted by: konastephen | December 20, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse


You think the big bosses of these monopoly corporations like Comcast are entrepreneurs? Garbage. They are bureaucratic suck-ups who became corporate monarchs because they were the most successful in playing suck-up to the previous corporate monarchs. Entrepreneurs are people who create things. These people create nothing. Like the big bank bosses, they destroy. Take the internet away from the control of the monopoly corporate bureaucratic monarchs.

Posted by: twm1 | December 20, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I just watched a discussion of the cons about net neutrality on MSNBC and the law professor pointed out that there are so many loopholes that it will not be neutral. The biggest loophole is that wireless connections will not be protected,so he predicted that there will be legal challanges to the proposed new rules and he suggests that the FCC does not have the authority under federal law to allow these type of changes.

Posted by: Aarky | December 20, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

The Internet should remain completely free of any regulation.

If regulated by any means by the Government, true Internet traffic will simply bypass regulated segments in the USA.

And who wins if that happens? The rest of the world.

Time and again big Government proves that it has the opposite of the Midas touch - anything it TRIES to regulate turns to crap.

Wake up America. It is sad how Obama has allowed special interests and the uber-rich to completely run amuck.

Watch how the poor will be limited to the equivalent of A.M. radio and free airwave T.V. shows - on the Internet. Unless you can PAY, you can't get access to parts of the Web that anyone in India, South Korea or Japan can access.

This is just too sad for words.

Posted by: rexsolomon | December 20, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

jihm wrote>>>Net neutrality is opposed by the GOP. The last election ensures that there will not be a law passed in congress protecting net neutrality

Very true.
And a sad part of all this is Frightwing media has trained Righties to believe Net Neutrality is BAD - and they're all over the net protesting it.

Posted by: angie12106 | December 20, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

It's become a goulish comedy. Giant corporations constantly subverting every single effort to ensure fairness.

Pushing every effort to make sure 98% of the country gets crushed into servitude and slavery and ignorance.

As soon as net neutral passes, their lawyers will race to work, doing their best to crush it through appeals in federal courts.

And screaming the loudest will be not only Kay Hutchison, but dozens of other GOP lapdogs to the super-rich.

Disgusting.

Common sense and common decency is no longer to be expected, not as long as voters keep electing subversive, lying lapdogs like Mitch McConnell, undisputed king of hostage-takers and primary enemy of the middle class.

Posted by: StevenK3 | December 20, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Net neutrality has to do with freedom of the internet, like freedom of the press- that we no longer have because it is controlled by the same money groups that control our congress and government. The Net to this point, was and is for recovering our freedom to information. and, Information, is the currency of democracy!! Sound familiar? that was Jefferson, a guy way back who had to do with the greatness of this country. Now,however, money buys anything, and the money guys will buy and get control of the internet as they have control of the rest of mass media dissemination.

Google Net Neutrality, and get your own flavor of it.

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