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FCC Plans to Formalize Internet Rules on Net Neutrality Draw Fire


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Internet service providers (ISPs) are unhappy at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) plan to formalize rules for net neutrality — the notion that all ISPs should treat all traffic on their networks equally — and thus preserve the Internet's openness. Under the plan, no ISP would be permitted to impede any online content, exhibit favoritism for their own content, or discriminate among Internet traffic. Net neutrality would be applicable to all broadband platforms, including wireless, and ISPs would have a mandate to publicly report any slowdowns in traffic they implement. "This is the policy that will shape the future of the Internet," says Free Press public policy director Ben Scott.

The major ISPs say the FCC agenda is tantamount to pointless regulation, and they argue that regulation is unnecessary given the Internet's massive growth and prosperity over more than four decades without government intervention. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski contends that net neutrality is essential to the long-term security of the millions of consumers who rely on the Internet, noting that "doing nothing would impose its own form of unacceptable cost. It would deprive innovators and investors of confidence that the free and open Internet we depend on today will still be here tomorrow."

Genachowski also says that non-action "would be a dangerous retreat from the core principle of openness — the freedom to innovate without permission — that has been the hallmark of the Internet since its inception, and has made it so stunningly successful as a platform for innovation, opportunity, and prosperity."

From USA Today
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