FCC to propose net neutrality rules

Robert Clark
21 Sep 2009

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski will tonight announce “net neutrality” rules that would prevent operators from discriminating against different kinds of content being carried over their networks.

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

The move “would make good on a campaign promise to Silicon Valley supporters like Google…but will trigger a battle with phone and cable companies,” the Journal said.

In a new departure, the new measures would also apply to mobile operators.

Currently, ISPs – but not cellcos - are governed by four principles introduced by the FCC when it last looked at the net neutrality issue in 2005. Under these rules, consumers have the right to use the content, applications, services and devices of their choice via the internet.

The principle of non-discriminatory treatment of web traffic will become a fifth rule, reports said.

No other details are available at this stage. Much will depend on how the FCC defines neutrality, but telcos and cable firms like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are sure to fiercely oppose the ruling, which they will see as interfering in the way they run their networks and their businesses.

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