Genachowski vows to continue net neutrality push

by John Eggerton, Broadcasting and Cable

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Wednesday pledged to keep the faith when it comes to taking steps to insure network neutrality, court case or no.

At opening remarks for an open internet field hearing in Seattle, Wash., the chairman pointed out that it was only down the road a piece in Hillsboro, Ore., that Comcast's secret blocking of "lawful Internet traffic" was discovered.

That discovery, and others, he said "made clear that an Internet in the dark runs too great a risk of becoming a closed Internet -- with substantial costs to our ability to lead the world in innovation and freedom."

A federal court earlier this month threw out the FCC smackdown of Comcast over that discovery, saying the commission had not clearly established its authority to regulate network management, or in the FCC's view, mismanagement.

"The recent court decision was, of course, an unfortunate development. But it has done nothing to weaken my unwavering commitment to ensuring that the free and open Internet is preserved and protected," he said. "Doing so is crucial for the health of our broadband ecosystem; crucial to the health of our economy, and our democracy; crucial for ensuring free speech and for new speakers continue to flourish online...."

The FCC's lawyers are currently considering their next step, which could be to classify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service subject to more strict regulation--like mandatory access--than it is under its current Title I information service designation.

The chairman said there was a "broad consensus" around the following: "The FCC has a central role in preserving Internet freedom and openness; the importance of transparency; the unacceptability of blocking access to lawful content or apps; that reasonable network management is, well, reasonable; that open Internet is about lawful content; and that an open Internet can and should coexist with enforcement of copyright and other laws."

article originally published at Broadcasting and Cable.

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