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The Struggle for Net Neutrality

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"An aide to Sen. Byron L. Dorgan said the North Dakota Democrat will reintroduce his "Preserving Internet Freedom" bill, which he last sponsored in 2007." The bill "is intended to support and help codify new net neutrality principles announced Sept. 21 by" the FCC.

FCC to Establish New Net Neutrality Rules

On September 21, an FCC press release headlined:

"FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Outlines Actions to Preserve the Free and Open Internet....in a speech today at The Brookings Institution."

He called the Internet "an extraordinary platform for innovation, job creation, investment, and opportunity (that has) unleashed the potential entrepreneurs and enabled the launch and growth of small businesses across America. It is vital that we safeguard the free and open Internet." The way forward will be debated pitting consumers against powerful industry groups wanting full control and the profit potential it holds. In the end, new rules will be crafted, hopefully to fulfill Obama's promise, but so far with no assurance.

Previously, the FCC embraced four open Internet principles giving consumers access to:

-- lawful Internet content;

-- applications and services of their choice;

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-- legal devices not harmful to the network; and

-- whatever network, application, service, and content providers they wish.

Two new ones are now proposed:

-- preventing providers from discriminating against content or applications, "while allowing for reasonable network management;" and

-- ensuring providers are transparent about their management practices.

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On October 22, Genachowski affirmed the six principles (applying to all Internet accessing platforms) in announcing a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)," stating:

"With today's Notice, we seek public input on draft rules to preserve an open Internet - the next step in an ongoing and longstanding effort at the Commission....In examining the issue, the Commission has provided abundant opportunities for public participation, including through public hearings and requests for written comment, which have generated over 100,000 pages of input in approximately 40,000 filings from interested companies, organizations, and individuals."

"Throughout this extensive process, one point has attracted nearly unanimous support: The Internet's openness, and the transparency of its protocols, have been critical to its success....Because of the historically open architecture of the Internet, it has been equally accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of its protocols," including for commerce, speech and "an immense variety of content, applications, and services that have improved the lives of Americans....The Commission has a statutory responsibility to preserve and promote advanced communications that are accessible to all Americans and that serve national purposes."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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