Former FCC chief counsel places bets on net neutrality success
Former Federal Communications Commission chief counsel Bruce Gottleib is putting his bets on net neutrality successfully passing a vote on Tuesday, with some minor changes to win the support of otherwise skeptical Democrats at the commission.
Gottlieb, now general counsel at The Atlantic Media Co., wrote in a National Journal op-ed Monday that even though the proposal is "disliked by the right and left," he predicts it will pass with three votes for the policy.
Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn have said they favor net neutrality rules. But they say there are still weaknesses in the proposal by Chairman Julius Genachowski. Both commissioners said the rules need to cover wireless networks more broadly than a draft proposal did. And they have expressed concern over what some view as a loophole that would allow Internet service providers such as Comcast and AT&T to charge companies for priority traffic on their networks.
Sources familiar with discussions at the FCC said the proposed rules have been tweaked to make it harder for carriers to charge for faster delivery of content -- called paid priority. And talks leading up to Tuesday's vote are focused on how wireless networks would be covered by rules. Initial draft rules prohibited wireless carriers from blocking voice and video telephony applications. Sources said commissioners were talking about broadening the types of applications that would be protected by the agency. The rules may also prohibit any "unreasonable" wireless network management that would allow a carrier to unfairly discriminate against certain applications.
Gottleib, who served as a senior adviser to Copps before his position with Genachowski, said the "order will be a somewhat stronger flavor of net neutrality than it would have been if the Dems hadn’t kicked up a fuss."
But what after the vote? Telecom industry experts expect companies to sue the FCC, asserting that the agency doesn't have the authority to introduce broadband regulation.
And Republican House members will probably introduce legislation to overturn the FCC's decision, they say.
"The vote on Tuesday will probably be described as providing closure on a difficult 2010 for the FCC," Gottleib wrote. "But this moment of repose is not likely to outlast many New Year’s resolutions."
Sen. Hutchison moves to block funds to FCC over net neutrality
| December 20, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
Categories: FCC, Net Neutrality
Save & Share: Previous: AT&T to buy spectrum for Qualcomm's Flo TV
Next: Net neutrality rules poised to win FCC approval
Posted by: LBrettGlass | December 20, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse