Earlier today, Chairman Genachowski held a press conference to deliver his remarks on his proposed Open Internet rules, which are scheduled for vote at the FCC's December 21 open meeting. The Chairman prefaced his summary of the rules by noting that they are in principle rooted in policy statements of past "Republican" Chairmen Powell and Martin, is consistent with President Obama's goal of keeping the Internet "open and free", and builds upon the framework first developed by Rep. Waxman earlier this year.
In summary, the Chairman outlined the basic concepts of his proposal that grants consumers and innovators the right to:
- Transparency, including basic information about how networks are managed;
- Send and receive lawful Internet traffic (ie, prohibit blocking), and use devices (that are not harmful to the network) of their own choosing; and
- A level playing field, including a bar to unreasonable discrimination in content transmission;
The rules also recognize providers' right to "reasonable" network management that will give providers the flexibility to address congestion and "illegal" traffic, as well as maintain incentives to build-out and innovate broadband networks.
The Chairman made clear that the rules do not adopt the "reclassification" option that would have reclassified broadband as a Title II service.
Also, the Chairman's rules draw a distinction between mobile and fixed broadband services. The Chairman acknowledged that mobile services are still at an early stage of development, but are rapidly evolving so that the FCC will be prepared to act in the event that anti-competitive or anti-consumer practices arise.
UPDATE: The FCC has just released a statement by Commissioner McDowell condemning the Chairman's proposal. His brief statement is available here.