One giant leap for net neutrality

FCC Chairman makes “non-discrimination” and “transparency” part of his Web agenda

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed Monday to add two net neutrality principles to the slate of official commission regulations on Internet service providers (ISPs). In the single greatest step toward the establishment of federally enforced network neutrality, Genachowski will bring his âÄúnon-discriminationâÄù and âÄútransparencyâÄù proposals to a formal FCC vote in October, where they are expected to pass by a 3-2 party-line vote. If so, the new rules mark a major win for consumers. Under these guidelines, ISPs like telecom giants AT&T and Comcast would be prohibited from selectively blocking or manipulating upload and download speeds based on Web content. These rules would have allowed the FCC to correct several condemnable past ISP actions, such as Verizon blocking certain text messages based on political content and ComcastâÄôs obstruction of large file transfers and peer-to-peer traffic on BitTorrent. Also included in the package is a measure to require providers to make network management practices known to customers. The new principles will allow for predictable Internet access to new services and applications and take the stranglehold on Internet development away from ISPs. In a speech yesterday Genchowski said, âÄúIt is vital that we safeguard the free and open Internet,âÄù we couldnâÄôt agree more. Our new FCC chairman deserves praise for an aggressive consumer-protection agenda.