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The Struggle for Net Neutrality

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Headlined to H3 11/16/09

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Up to now, the "Internet Policy Statement" helped preserve Internet openness, but it's time "to build on past efforts and to provide greater clarity regarding the Commission's approach to these issues through a notice-and-comment rulemaking....to help address emerging challenges to the open Internet." Comments are sought on:

-- the six principles in draft language;

-- the need for "reasonable network management;"

-- "managed" or "specialized" services;

-- how and to what extent they should apply to "non-wireline forms of Internet access, including, but not limited to, terrestrial mobile wireless, unlicensed wireless, licensed fixed wireless, and satellite;" and

-- enforcement procedures to ensure compliance.

A new FCC web site, openinternet.gov, was launched to encourage public input, with no assurance the agency or Congress will heed it.

Nonetheless, Free Press policy director, Ben Scott, said:

"After years of hard work, we are pleased that the FCC has begun this crucially important rulemaking on Network Neutrality. A well-crafted Net Neutrality rule can assure that the open Internet continues to serve as a great force for economic innovation and democratic participation for all Americans. (The agency is taking) an important step toward securing the open Internet and a victory for the public interest and civil rights organizations, small businesses, Internet innovators, political leaders, and millions of people who have fought to get to this point...."

"We welcome a new era at the FCC in which decisions made in the public interest withstand the cynical lobby of special interests from a few big phone and cable companies," and those in Congress who support them like John McCain and the man Free Press calls the "Congressman from Comcast," Robert Brady (D. PA), because of his "long-standing history of supporting (its) policies" to the detriment of consumers.

Potential FCC Net Neutrality Loophole

Free Press' Tim Karr fears it may undermine Internet freedom if not addressed and corrected, and a group of six prominent law professors agree. They include:

-- Jack Balkin, Yale Law School;

-- John Blevins, South Texas College of Law;

-- Jim Chen, University of Louisville School of Law where he's also Dean;

-- Larry Lessig, Harvard Law School;

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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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