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FCC Chairman: 6 Goals For Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chairman Genachowski outlined what he hopes to get out of Internet neutrality guidelines: an open Internet, promotion of investment and limited government involvement.

All five FCC commissioners Thursday voted to continue the effort to formalize net neutrality guidelines. The effort has come under fire by telecom carriers and service providers, as well as a number of GOP lawmakers. Most recently, Senator John McCain introduced a bill that would prohibit the FCC from governing communications.

Genachowski issued a statement yesterday in which the FCC chairman discussed six conceptual commitments that he fully endorses.

1. The goal is a free and open Internet. First, the goal is, and must remain without compromise, preserving a free and open Internet. "Each and every user of the Internet must have access to an unlimited online universe of ideas and commerce," Genachowski said.

2. Both investment and innovation must be promoted. Genachowski called the notion that there must be either innovation and investment on the "edge" of the network, where content and applications are developed, or in the "core" of the network, where broadband providers operate, a "false choice."

"The full potential of the Internet cannot be unleashed without robust and healthy broadband networks, and broadband providers need room to experiment with new technologies and business models in order to earn a return on their investment and deploy high-speed broadband to all Americans," he said.

3. Flexibility is necessary. Broadband providers should be able to solve the difficult challenges of managing their networks and offering customers a high-quality Internet connection. In addition, the chairman recognized congestion issues, particularly regarding broadband.

4. The government's role in preserving the openness of the Internet should be limited. "This commission fully agrees that government must not restrict the free flow of information over the Internet," Genachowski said.

5. Safety and security are paramount. Copyright infringement, spam, or other violations of the law will not be tolerated. Laws must also honor the protection of users' privacy.

6. Sixth, the differences between wireless and wired networks need to be addressed. "Given fundamental differences in technology, how, when and to what extent open Internet rules should apply to different access platforms, particularly mobile broadband, will undoubtedly vary," Genachowski noted.

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