- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

The Federal Communications Commission moved Monday toward creating formal regulations that would stop Internet providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web content and applications.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the plan would make formal four policies on broadband use that were adopted in 2005 and would add two more that foster what is known as “net neutrality.”

“This is not about government regulation of the Internet,” Mr. Genachowski said at the Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. “This is about fair rules of the road. … We’re seeing breaks and cracks emerge.”

Mr. Genachowski wants to vote with the agency’s four other commissioners next month on the proposed changes, following a period of public input, including comments through the new government Web site openinternet.gov.

“We want everybody to participate and we hope they do,” he said.

Mr. Genachowski and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker were nominated to the agency by President Obama. Commissioner Robert M. McDowell was appointed by President George W. Bush. Commissioner Michael J. Copps began his first term in 2001. Nominations are approved by the Senate.

The proposed changes if approved could impact wired and wireless broadband networks.

The FCC has so far not imposed net neutrality principles on wireless providers such as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA.

However, the agency said last year Comcast could no longer slow peer-to-peer traffic to manage its network. The company has since filed suit.

Mr. Genachowski said the agency wants only to “preserve and maintain” the Internet to continue its entrepreneurial spirit and increase broadband development.

However, providers mostly oppose the proposed changes, saying they will slow growth and interfere with security and bandwidth management.

“The Internet of 40 years ago is not the same today,” David Young, a Verizon vice president, said following Mr. Genachowski’s announcement. “It’s not the same as it was five years ago, and we don’t know were it’s going to be in another five years. But we do know it’s going to need more capacity and security.

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