WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. communications regulators voted unanimously Thursday to support an open Internet rule that would prevent telecom network operators from barring or blocking content based on the revenue it generates.You can read the entire Reuters.com article here.
The proposed rule now goes to the public for comment until Jan. 14, after which the Federal Communications Commissions will review the feedback and possibly seek more comment. A final rule is not expected until the spring of next year.
"I am pleased that there is broad agreement inside the commission that we should move forward with a healthy and transparent process on an open Internet," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.
The vote came despite a flurry of lobbying against the net neutrality rule by telecommunications service providers like AT&T Inc (T.N), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and Qwest Communications International Inc (Q.N), which say it would strip them of the ability to manage their networks effectively and would stifle innovation and competition.
"We commend the FCC for beginning the process," said Senators Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, and Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, in a joint statement. They proposed a net neutrality bill in the last session of Congress.
Verizon Communications warned of unintended consequences from government rulemaking and added it is seeking "common ground" with others in the industry on policies that would apply to all.
"The Internet ecosystem is serving consumers very well, and there is no problem that requires new government regulation," said Tom Tauke, executive vice president of policy and communications.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is having none of it, and believes this is essentially going be a sort of "Fairness Doctrine" for the Internet.
"Net neutrality, as I see it, is the fairness doctrine for the Internet," she said. The creators "fully understand what the Fairness Doctrine would be when it applies to TV or radio. What they do not want is the federal government policing how they deploy their content over the Internet and they want the ISPs to manage their networks and deploy the content however they have agreed on with ISP. They do not want a czar of the Internet to determine when they can deploy their creativity over the Internet. "They do not want a czar to determine what speeds will be available....We are watching the FCC very closely as it relates to that issue."So are we, Rep. Blackburn.
Every time I hear the suggestion that the federal government get involved in anything, I cringe. Once you let them in, it is damn near impossible to get them out again.
The idea that the federal government should have any say in how the Internet is run is preposterous, as you can be sure their involvement in same will only deepen as time goes by. Yeah, the old slippery slope that would be.
The decidedly totalitarian leanings of the administration currently holed-up in the White House only reinforces my belief that the feds should be kept as far away from the Internet as is possible.
As far as I know, the Internet isn't broken, and even if it was, the last entity on Earth I want to see "fix" it is the federal government.