The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to start drafting rules to support Internet neutrality. “It’s hard to imagine anything more important to the future of the success of our economy than a healthy and vibrant Internet, and there is no question that the openness of the Internet is the secret sauce to its success,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski following the vote. He also noted that the FCC has a core agenda to drive investment, innovation, and opportunity in 21st century communications. In addition to providing their customers with consistent Web traffic, Internet service providers (ISPs) would need to detail their network traffic management operations to ensure no wrongdoing. The U.S. government’s previous stance on the Web regulation issue was one of non-involvement, but it changed its position as worries mounted that ISPs could begin to exhibit favoritism toward their products and services. Crafting the rules will be a long, contentious process as wireless carriers, telecommunications firms, and other industry players and participants sound off on the benefits and drawbacks. The FCC’s Democratic commissioners are vocal advocates of net neutrality rules, while the agency’s Republican commissioners argue that such regulations are unnecessary. Critics are concerned that Web regulation will have an adverse effect on innovation in the Internet sector. However, Genachowski disagrees that the rules would hamper investment in broadband networks. “I reject the notion that we must choose between open Internet rules and investment by service providers in their networks,” he said during the meeting.
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