August 17, 2010

Dems Push For FCC Regulation Of Internet

A group of Democratic congressmen is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move forward with their own Net Neutrality rules rather than accept a proposal from Google and Verizon, various media outlets are reporting.

Four members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee-- Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Anna Eshoo of California, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Jay Inslee of Washington--sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday, asking him to "maintain a free and open Internet," according to an article printed by Reuters on August 16.

"Rather than expansion upon a proposal by two large communications companies with a vested financial interest in the outcome, formal FCC action is needed," Markey, who drafted the letter, wrote.

Failing to do so "could widen the digital divide by establishing a substandard, less open experience for traditionally underserved regions and demographic groups that may more often need to access or choose to access the Internet on a mobile device," the letter said, according to CNET.com reports. "The FCC must have oversight authority for broadband access services."

According to Reuters, Genachowski said that "any outcome or deal that does not preserve an open and free Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs would be unacceptable."

On August 9, Google Director of Public Policy Alan Davidson and Verizon Executive VP of Public Affairs, Policy, and Communications Tom Tauke released a joint proposal regarding Net Neutrality regulations. In the proposal, the two technology giants recommended establishing rules that, among other things, "spells out the FCC's role and authority in the broadband space."

"In addition to creating enforceable consumer protection and nondiscrimination standards that go beyond the FCC's preexisting consumer safeguards, the proposal also provides for a new enforcement mechanism for the FCC to use," the joint statement, which was posted on Google's public policy blog, said. "Specifically, the FCC would enforce these openness policies on a case-by-case basis, using a complaint-driven process. The FCC could move swiftly to stop a practice that violates these safeguards, and it could impose a penalty of up to $2 million on bad actors."


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