FCC Issues Open Internet Rules

Jonathan Charnitski, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

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WASHINGTON, December 22, 2010 – In an uncommon split vote on Tuesday, the FCC handed down an order requiring network providers to abide by certain rules intended to maintain network neutrality.

The order provided three guidelines by which internet service providers must abide in their offerings to consumers. First, the commission said, ISPs must provide services in a transparent manner by disclosing their network management practices and performance characteristics. Second, network providers must not block lawful content from their customers, and third, providers may not unreasonably discriminate by prioritizing certain network traffic without sufficient reason.

Though each commissioner was quick to point out that the overwhelming majority of actions by the FCC enjoy not only bipartisan, but unanimous support, the neutrality order vote fell along party lines, with the Democratic appointees voting in favor and the Republican appointees voting against. Even among the Democratic appointees, approval of the measure belied the ideological rift between the order as passed and what Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn stated they would have preferred.

Speaking first, Commissioner Copps harkened to the days of the Bell monopolies and AT&T dominance as cautionary tales of what might happen without sufficient protections.

“Today’s action could have – and should have – gone further,” said Copps, adding that he “seriously considered” issuing an order-killing dissent. “But without action today, progress would have ground to a halt for at least the next two years. In the end, I believe we made progress – not as much as I had hoped, but more than some people expected.”

Article Continued on Broadband Breakfast…

About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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