Net neutrality had been relatively dormant under the previous administration, but an all-Democratic Congress and Administration has put the issue front-and-center. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski drew a line in the sand this week to carriers and they’re reacting with their usual party lines.
In a Monday speech at the Brookings Institute, Genachowski indicated the FCC would formalize net neutrality rules and tossed in two additions to the “Powell Principles” while he was at it. The first four are: consumers must be able to access the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, and attach non-harmful devices to the network.
Added to the list are : 5) To prevent Internet access providers from discriminating against particular Internet content or applications, while allowing for reasonable network management and 6) Ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practices they implement.
In October, the FCC will start a formalized process with a NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), asking for comment from the community — yes, that sound you hear is the spin up of corporate lobbyists and their “paidroot” shills — and then maybe sometime next year, there will be actual rules that emerge for a vote.
Among the biggest complainers so far are the wireless network providers who already have been under fire for exclusive deals on phones. The mobile guys say that they need to be able to manage their networks due to bandwidth constraints — which kind of begs the question as to why AT&T offered the iPhone in the first place and the move to a data-intensive LTE world. Verizon’s stock response to any suggestion of government regulation boils down to “Everything is OK, we don’t need more government rules, these are not the droids you are looking for, please move on…”
Look for the real fireworks to cut loose this fall once the NPRM is issued and the PR machines of AT&T and Verizon start cranking.