FCC readies Net rules

 

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed network neutrality rules for the planned commissioners’ vote on December 21st.

The meeting agenda notice, issued yesterday, says: “An Order adopting basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition, and free expression. These rules would protect consumers’ and innovators’ right to know basic information about broadband service, right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic, and right to a level playing field, while providing broadband Internet access providers with the flexibility to reasonably manage their networks.”

It has taken a year for the rules to come back to the Commissioners after the court’s stepped in to override the FCC’s censure of Comcast for managing Bit Torrent traffic. Since then the regulator has been trying to find a form that would satisfy both users, content providers and network providers.

The FCC chairman had originally wanted to reclassify Internet services as more tightly regulated telco services, but that plan has been dropped.

Meanwhile the FCC has called for consultation on freeing up more airwaves for wireless services to meet the expanding use of handheld devices. “The explosive growth of mobile communications threatens to outpace the infrastructure on which it relies,” FCC Chairman told an FCC open meeting.

The FCC wants to persuade broadcasters to give up airwaves so that consumers can better download data on smart phones and other wireless devices. The airwave changes proposed will rely on broadcasters voluntarily giving up spectrum. Congress would also have to give the FCC the authority to conduct airwave auctions in which a portion of the proceeds would be shared with broadcasters.

The FCC’s proposed rule changes would help in its plan to repurpose 120 megahertz of spectrum from television stations for mobile broadband use.The Administration has endorsed making 500 megahertz of spectrum available for mobile broadband use.

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