More democratic voice support for network neutrality regulations

June 16, 2010

More Democratic congressfolk have buttressed their support for network neutrality regs in a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski.
“Without the proper legal authority to implement all facets of the Plan,” they said, “we will not fulfill its promise or achieve its goals.”

Ed Markey (D-Mass.), former House Communications Subcommittee chair and a backer of network neutrality legislation, and Reps Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), teamed up to pen the pep talk on the eve of the FCC’s vote on an inquiry into how to clarify its authority over network access, privacy and transparency.

Those will include doing nothing, imposing hefty regs, or what Genachowski has described as a “third way” of imposing select common carrier regs to only the transmission component of broadband (assuming that can be separated from the content portion) and not applying the rest of those regs.
In their letter. Markey and company said that third way was a “tailored, commonsense approach” to that clarification, which was necesary after the federal appeals court for the D.C. Circuit threw out the FCC’s action against Comcast for blocking file uploads by BitTorrent users.

“We agree that your proposition’s application of sections within Title II to broadband services is appropriate and necessary, as they cover fundamental consumer protection issues such as privacy and access for individuals with disabilities.”

But they also praised the FCC’s decision to start the process with a Notice of Inquiry on various scenarios (rather than, say, voting to adopt that Third Way, which could be done since the change is in the application of existing rules and can be done without going through the rulemaking process). They said that the NOI will “enable the public to take part in this vital process.”
The letter follows one in a similar vein from four senators Tuesday, led by Communications Subcommittee chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.).