Sources: FCC chief to move on net neutrality proposal
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is putting together a net neutrality proposal and plans to take action on the controversial issue as early as next month, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation.
Details of the proposal being developed by Genachowski’s office are unclear, but sources say it could be similar to the deal stakeholders tried to reach with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) earlier this fall.
The long-running net neutrality debate centers around rules that would require Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Internet companies like Google and Skype want net neutrality rules applied to both wireline and wireless networks, but network operators including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast say they need flexibility to manage web traffic on their lines.
President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to implement net neutrality rules. Genachowski’s plans to carry out that promise were hampered when a federal court ruled the FCC did not have legal authority to adopt the regulations.
Internet and telecom companies have been in trying to reach a compromise on the hot-button issue, first at the FCC over the summer and most recently with Congress. Under the arrangement shepherded b y Waxman, wireline networks would have been subject to net neutrality rules, meaning the biggest telecom companies would not be able to discriminate against any web traffic or content on their traditional wireline networks.
Wireless networks, however, would not have been subject to all of those non-discrimination requirements. The major telecom and Internet stakeholders, as well as several public interest groups, signed onto the deal, but Republicans on Capitol Hill refused to support the draft proposal, especially so close to the mid-term elections.
It now appears Genachowski, after receiving significant pressure from net neutrality advocates and public interest groups to take action after congressional efforts failed, is picking up where Waxman left off.