Patt Morrison for December 17, 2010

Nothing neutral about “net neutrality”: FCC, Congress begin debate on new internet rules

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U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposes net neutrality rules at FCC headquarters in Washington, DC.

The idea has been debated for over two years but the day of reckoning for “net neutrality” rules is finally here, as the FCC and Congress move toward pivotal votes on a set of regulatory guidelines that will determine the future of the internet. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has tried to move on net neutrality rules before, only to be overruled on his authority to do so by federal courts and Congress. He will try again with a framework for broadband internet service that forbids service providers from blocking content. In a nod to those same internet service providers, the new rules would allow broadband companies to charge consumers different rates for different levels of service. The FCC is attempting to strike a fine line between companies that provide internet access and the end users surfing the web—and that’s before Congressional politics get involved. Is net neutrality an achievable goal?


Art Brodsky, communications director, Public Knowledge

Scott Cleland, Chairman of, a pro-competition forum supported by broadband interests and President of Precursor LLC and industry consulting firm

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