Reaction to FCC's Network Neutrality Notice

Author: Kevin Taglang
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Network Neutrality proponents quickly responded to the Federal Communications Commission's has release of a Public Notice seeking further input in its Network Neutrality/Open Internet proceeding.

Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said: "Nothing in this public notice prevents the FCC from taking prompt action on its 'Third Way' proceeding, which would make certain all Americans have affordable access to broadband, and to make sure it can deal with public safety and other crucial issues that are broader than the narrow issues on which the Commission seeks comment. We expect the Commission will move quickly to set the legal framework for the FCC to oversee broadband Internet access services, with specific rules to protect the open Internet to follow soon after. We note that both of the issues on which the FCC seeks public comment, dealing with specialized services and the status of wireless services in an open Internet, were extensively explored in not one, but two proceedings pending at the Commission in which comments were submitted. The most recent comments were filed three weeks ago, following public disclosure of the policy agreement between Verizon and Google."

Matt Wood, Associate Director of Media Access Project, said: "Recent events prove that giant companies left to regulate themselves will craft rules full of loopholes and exceptions that benefit their own interest, not the public interest. The Commission asks the same questions time and time again about wireless broadband services and specialized services, instead of providing basic answers on the basis of the robust record it already has compiled. MAP, other public interest groups, companies, trade associations, and other commenters on all sides of the issue have provided great detail on these topics, both in the Open Internet and Broadband Framework dockets. The record demonstrates already that the same framework and openness principles should apply to all broadband access services, even if the rules differ on the basis of legitimate technological differences. The record also shows that the Commission must retain authority over specialized services."

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said, "The FCC continues to kick the can down the road and prolong this process, but the longer the FCC ponders the politics of Net Neutrality, the longer consumers are left unprotected. It is time for the FCC to stop writing notices and start making clear rules of the road. The phone and cable companies have shown us what the Internet will look like if they are allowed to write their own rules and build a two-tiered Internet with fast and slow lanes and zero protections on mobile broadband. We don't need more questions from the FCC, we need more answers. Today's announcement does nothing to change what the FCC must do next. The crucial first step for the agency is to reassert its authority and reclassify broadband access services under Title II of the Communications Act. This must happen before any Net Neutrality rules can be finalized. This is the only way the Commission can fully protect the open Internet and free speech online."



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