Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FCC Chairman calls for network neutrality

One of President Obama's campaign promises was to support network neutrality. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has now called for new rules guaranteeing network neutrality.

Mr. Genachowski outlined his proposal in a talk at the Brookings Institute. After discussing the importance of the Internet to our economy and society, he reiterated four current FCC Internet governance rules:

  • Consumers should not be limited in the content they choose to view online, as long as it's legal.
  • Users should be able to run any application they want as long as they don't exceed service plan limitations or harm the provider's network.
  • Consumers should be permitted to connect products they buy to their Internet connection, as long as the devices operate within the service plan and do not harm the network or enable theft of service.
  • Customers should be able to easily review their options when buying Internet service plans and learn how those plans protect against spyware and other invasions of privacy
and he added two new network neutrality rules he would like to enact:
  • Internet service providers (ISPs) would be prohibited from selectively blocking or slowing Web content or applications.
  • ISPs would be required to make their network management practices clear and available to consumers.
The network neutrality provisions are opposed by many ISPs like the telephone and cable TV companies and supported by content providers like Google. You can read an argument against network neutrality here.

You can watch a video or read a transcript of Mr. Genachowski's talk and a panel discussion following it here. If you are in a hurry, you can check out this short coverage from National Public Radio. Last, but not least, you can see announcements and give feedback to the FCC here.

Do you support the call for network neutrality? Do you think it should apply to mobile ISPs?