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?

1 comment:

  1. Nick Livio and TyQuanna Ganaway10:27 AM

    Network neutrality is something that will become more important as the years go on because of the development of new ideas for the flow of information on the internet. Out of the two new Net neutrality rules that Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed, the one about ISPs being prohibited from "selectively blocking or slowing Web content or applications" seems to us the most important rule of all. It is infuriating to think that one's service provider would be allowed to decide what someone can or cannot be allowed to view on the internet.

    Although these rules seem to be something one would generally assume would be already set in place, there are others who disagree and want the Federal Communications Commision to stay away from what ISP's are allowed to do. Most notably, Senator John McCain, who introduced a bill called the "Internet Freedom Act", that basically blocks the FCC from enacting Net neutrality into the law of the land.


    According to McCain, Net neutrality is a "government takeover" of the internet. One might find these statements coming from the mind of Senator McCain to be a little odd, considering how he openly admitted that he doesn't even know how to use a computer. A video can of this can be seen here:


    As far as mobile ISPs go, the same rules should still apply. Since most mobile phones that are being sold in stores today offer web browsing features, among others, it is important to have the same open flow of information, regardless of how or where it is being viewed.

    - Nick Livio and TyQuanna Ganaway