FCC comes closer to realizing its net neutrality dream

Amidst great protest from major traditional service providers, the FCC voted to support an open Internet rule that will prevent service providers from throttling down or blocking specific content going over their Internet pipes.

Of course, it will be a while before any FCC rule will take effect. The FCC's proposed rule is now open to public comment until January 14. After that period, the FCC says it will review the responses it gets and even ask for more input and then the FCC probably won't issue the formal rule until next spring. 

"I am pleased that there is broad agreement inside the commission that we should move forward with a healthy and transparent process on an open Internet," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said on Thursday.

Still, it's not a complete slam dunk. Although the entire commission of three Democrats, including Genachowski, and two Republicans voted 'yes' to present the proposed network neutrality rules for public comment, the FCC's two Republicans seem to still be a bit uneasy with the way the rules are structured. Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker said that they don't believe that the government needs to be tinkering with the way service providers run the Internet. What's more, they were not sure if the FCC has the legal right to regulate the Internet either.

The FCC's proposed rules were met with both elation and frustration. For content providers such as Google who say that service providers should not be allowed to bar certain content from going on their networks, the proposed ruling is a victory.

However, traditional service providers such as AT&T think net neutrality rules are just plain unnecessary. "Regulators should understand that there's plenty of competition in this market," said John Stankey, AT&T's President of Operations Stankey during this week's Supercomm trade show in Chicago.

Already, Republicans are taking action to block the FCC's efforts. As reported in FierceTelecom's sister publication FierceWireless, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has put a bill on the table aimed at preventing the FCC from going forward with its net neutrality rules.  

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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