And that means he is endorsing the concept of network neutrality. He says it is neither pro- nor anti-business, nor is it pro- nor anti-consumer, but designed to protect both. He outlined his plans in an address at Washington think tank The Brookings Institute.
“The Internet is an extraordinary platform for innovation, job creation, investment, and opportunity. It has unleashed the potential of entrepreneurs and enabled the launch and growth of small businesses across America,” said Julius Genachowski (D). “It is vital that we safeguard the free and open Internet.”
Two new principles were key to the presentation – “The first would prevent Internet access providers from discriminating against particular Internet content or applications, while allowing for reasonable network management. The second principle would ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practices they implement. The Chairman also proposed clarifying that all six principles apply to all platforms that access the Internet.”
A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) will be forthcoming at the October FCC Open Meeting, which will open a proceeding to hammer out all the details. Genachowski has promised an extraordinarily open proceeding and encouraged everybody with an interest to participate. To that end, the FCC opened a new website, openInternet.gov, to gather input.
FCC adoption of a set of rules with these main outlines intact is already a sure thing. Both of Genachowski’s fellow Democratic Commissioners came out with statements supporting him shortly after his Brookings speech was delivered.
Michael Copps said, “Chairman Genachowski’s bold announcement today is a significant further investment in safeguarding Internet Freedom. I salute him for it.”
Added Mignon Clyburn, “I fully support Chairman Genachowski’s intention to take affirmative measures to preserve the openness of the Internet. The Chairman’s statement today is an important first step in setting forth clear rules of the road that will ensure the Internet’s continued vibrancy. As a former small business owner, I am keenly aware of how an open and transparent Internet can serve as an equalizing force for new entrants to the marketplace.”?
Republican Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker issued a joint statement that expressed the sentiments of the loyal opposition. They worry that certain decisions have already been made in advance of the process and that an unnecessary layer of regulation will put a blanket on investment. They promised to work through the process carefully.
RBR-TVBR observation: The theory is that web traffic should be treated like telephone traffic – the call is initiated and routed to its destination without discrimination. The difference is that where phone calls are more or less equal, web transmissions are not and managing bandwidth is a necessity. It is important to make sure that the traffic managers are worrying solely about the flow and not deciding who has access to the internet onramps and who does not.
Former internet entrepreneur and current basketball owner Mark Cuban told Congress not too long ago that bandwidth solves everything.
It is painfully obvious to anybody in traditional media that the future is in the internet, and it must be equally as obvious to the investment and technical communities. We think for that reason, the investment will be there.
Meanwhile, business large and small that rely on the internet – including publications like ours and almost every radio and television station out there – and almost every business we can think of, for that matter – can go about their business secure that their business will be conducted fairly and expeditiously by a neutral traffic manager.