FCC approves net neutrality framework

John C. Tanner
22 Dec 2010
The framework is not yet set in stone – the FCC will meet on December 21 to vote on a proposed order that will put the framework rules into effect.
However, the framework is predictably drawing fire from pro-net neutrality groups.
Harold Feld, legal director of pro-neutrality group Public Knowledge, criticized the rules for failing to create any legal certainty over what legally constitutes an “open Internet”.
“Instead of using this long and painful process to define what carriers can and can’t do, and what rights consumers can expect, the FCC has created the opportunity to undergo a long and painful process of enforcement to define the rules,” Feld wrote in a blog post.
Free Press managing director Craig Aaron said the framework was “a squandered opportunity to enact clear, meaningful rules to safeguard the Internet’s level playing field and protect consumers.”
Republicans in Congress also oppose the new rules, with House GOP Leader John Boehner denouncing the framework as an “unnecessary and harmful federal government power grab” within an hour of the FCC’s announcement. Boehner and House Whip Eric Cantor vowed to repeal the rules when the GOP takes control of the House in January, according to Politico.com.
In the US Senate, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has filed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prohibit the FCC from using funds to “adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards”, according to the Washington Post.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), meanwhile, welcomed the framework, particularly the decision to not reclassify broadband providers as common carriers, which TIA President Grant Seiffert said in a statement would stifle industry growth and innovation.


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