In a recent speech by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, it was made clear that the Chairman strongly supports network neutrality. Network neutrality refers to principles that provide a free and unobstructed flow of data over the Internet. Network neutrality has become an issue in recent years as it has become apparent that some Internet service providers are restricting certain types of Internet traffic. Chairman Genachowski wants to implement new FCC policies that will give teeth to network neutrality principles. “These principles can be summarized as: Network operators cannot prevent users from accessing lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network,” said the Chairman. In addition, the Chairman wishes to crack down on discrimination in the industry. He intends to stop Internet service providers from blocking services from competitors. He also plans to create rules that will force companies to be transparent about their Internet management policies.
If the Chairman is able to carry out his plans, it would put an end to many inhibitive policies enforced by Internet service providers including the big cellular companies. It will also provide opportunities for small companies that are currently unable to gain access to the market. Consumers could benefit from more products and services and lower prices brought on by increased competition in the market. One example of a positive consequence would be that AT&T and Apple would be forced to finally allow iPhone owners to utilize their iPhones to connect their computers to the Internet. The Chairman’s speech is being hailed by consumer advocacy groups, while the telecom industry is warning of unintended negative consequences. With this latest speech we can be assured that Network Neutrality will be a major topic in the news for at least the next year.
- FCC Chair Leads Charge on Net Neutrality Battlefield [Ecommerce Times]
- FCC chairman calls for formal net neutrality rules [Computerworld]
- FCC Net neutrality proposal is ‘dramatic shift’ in policy [Computerworld]