December 2010 Archives

FCC Open Internet Order

Last week, the FCC adopted (and then a few days later, released the text of) an order intended to protect the open nature of the internet: In re: Matter of Preserving the Open Internet. I'm just finally going through the Order, but here are some commentary from those who have read the Order and those who commented on the meeting before the Order's text was published:

Sen. Al Franken, The Huffington Post, Al Franken: The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time: "As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it's a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations. A blogger should have the same ability to find an audience as a media conglomerate."

Steve Wozniak, The Atlantic, Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free: "The early Internet was so accidental, it also was free and open in this sense. The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away. Please, I beg you, open your senses to the will of the people to keep the Internet as free as possible. Local ISP's should provide connection to the Internet but then it should be treated as though you own those wires and can choose what to do with them when and how you want to, as long as you don't destruct them. I don't want to feel that whichever content supplier had the best government connections or paid the most money determined what I can watch and for how much. This is the monopolistic approach and not representative of a truly free market in the case of today's Internet."

Barbara van Schewick, The FCC’s Open Internet Rules – Stronger than You Think "While Commissioners Copps and Clyburn did not get the exact protections for users and innovators they had asked for, they managed to improve the chairman’s original proposal quite a bit. In particular, the text of the order sets out important principles that will guide the commission’s interpretation of the non-discrimination rule and the reasonable network management exception; explicitly bans network providers from charging application and content providers for access to the network providers’ Internet service customers; stops just short of an explicit ban on charging application and content providers for prioritized or otherwise enhanced access to these customers (this second practice is often called “paid prioritization”); and keeps alive the threat of regulation with respect to the mobile Internet."

Ars Technica, It's here: FCC adopts net neutrality (lite) "The regulations ban content blocking and require transparency from ISPs. They also require network management and packet discrimination to be 'reasonable,' but they exempt wireless broadband from all but the transparency and blocking rules."

Brian Stelter, NY Times, F.C.C. Approves Net Neutrality Rules and Braces for Fight: "The debate over the rules, intended to preserve open access to the Internet, seems to have resulted in a classic Washington solution %u2014 the kind that pleases no one on either side of the issue. Verizon and other service providers would prefer no government involvement. Public interest advocates think the rules stop far short of ensuring free speech. Some Republicans believe the rules are another instance of government overreach."

Nilay Patel, Engadget, FCC: We didn't impose stricter net neutrality regulations on wireless because Android is open: "Now, we obviously love Android, and there's no doubt that Google's OS has been part of some wonderfully furious competition in the mobile space recently. But we're not sure any of that has anything to do with net neutrality -- it doesn't matter how open your OS is when you're stuck with a filtered and throttled connection, and it's a pretty huge stretch to think Android's openness (however you want to define it) has anything to do with network access itself."