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Monday, September 21, 2009
FCC Proposes New Rules For An Open Internet

Internet service providers couldn't block or slow lawful Web traffic under rules to be proposed by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed on Monday new rules aimed at ensuring that network operators treat the flow of Internet content without discrimination.

Under the rules, operators would not be able to discriminate on how they handle Internet content or applications on their networks and would have to make network management practices transparent.

"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 Chairman Genachowski. "It is vital that we safeguard the free and open Internet"

The Commission previously embraced four open Internet principles affirming that consumers must be able to access the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, and attach non-harmful devices to the network. These four principles guide the FCC?s existing caseby- case enforcement of communications law.

In today?s speech, Chairman Genachowski proposed the addition of two new principles. 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.

Chairman Genachowski will seek to begin the process of codifying the Commission's existing four open Internet principles, along with the two additional principles, through a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at the FCC's October meeting.

The NPRM will ask for input and feedback on the proposed rules and their application, such as how to determine whether network management practices are reasonable, what information broadband providers should disclose about their network management practices and how the rules apply to differing platforms, including mobile Internet access services.

Advocates of net neutrality say service providers must be barred from blocking or slowing Internet traffic based on the content being sent or downloaded.

Broadband service providers such as AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications and Comcast opposed new rules governing network management.

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