Public interest groups want Genachowski to set deadline for clarifying broadband jurisdiction

by New America Foundation

A coalition of public interest organizations presented their unified position to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and his senior staff on the Commission's Open Internet and Broadband Internet Service Framework proceedings. Amid reports of a deal between Verizon and Google to prioritize certain traffic on the Internet and the FCC announcing the end of closed-door meetings with the largest Internet companies and Internet Service Providers, the proposed framework comes at a critically important time. At the meeting the coalition stressed the importance of setting a firm deadline for the FCC to clarify its jurisdiction over broadband service as well a necessary framework for enforcing meaningful Open Internet rules.

The unified position public interest groups laid out to FCC Chairman Genachowski this week parallels strong support from Congressional leadership and the White House calling for immediate action to preserve an open Internet," stated Sascha Meinrath, Director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative. "Non-discrimination and consumer protections are critically important for innovation and Chairman Genachowski has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that our 21st Century economy is built upon a sound foundation."

Following the rebuke of the FCC's current regulatory framework for broadband Internet services by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Commission has sought comment clarifying its authority over broadband services. During the Thursday afternoon meeting, Public Interest Representatives stressed the importance of FCC action on four key items:

* Classifying broadband connectivity as a Title II Telecommunications Service;
* Adopting a common regulatory framework and rules for wired and wireless services;
* Limiting "managed services" to avoid exceptions that would create enormous loopholes,
* undermining Open Internet rules ; and,
* Recognizing that paid prioritization is antithetical to an open, level playing field on the Internet and will delay investment in network capacity.

In addition to the New America Foundation, Public Interest organizations attending the meeting included Center for Democracy & Technology, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Free Press, Media Access Project, Media and Democracy Coalition, and Public Knowledge.

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