Julius Genachowski announces FCC proposal on net neutrality
From the sound of it, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski may have just signaled that a free and open Internet may be within reach. In a Huffington Post piece culled from his official FCC announcement, Genachowski states that a “milestone” has been reached in the fight for net neutrality. While the process is still at the proposal stage, the potential to see freedom of information on the World Wide Web in our lifetime appears closer than ever.
Net neutrality in a nutshell
Behind Julius Genachowski’s wide-ranging pronouncement lies the concept of net neutrality, which is deceptively simple. The basic idea is that quality broadband Internet connectivity should be available to all Americans at affordable prices. This high-speed connection to the Web should not be unreasonably throttled or otherwise controlled by government or telecommunications companies like Comcast. Furthermore, no sites should be granted bandwidth preference, which makes the path to one big telecom’s content a freshly paved, high-speed expressway while limiting the competition’s path to a bumpy dirt road.
‘Basic rules of the road’
In his statement, Julius Genachowski underscored the important role net neutrality would play in unfettered innovation, investment, job creation, individual expression and corporate competition. If the FCC’s open Internet measures are adopted later this month, here is what Americans can anticipate:
- Freedom to access lawful content without filters. It is the FCC’s position that no individual, corporate entity or government should be allowed to restrict what Web content you view, so long as said content does not violate U.S. law.
- Consumers have a right to know about their broadband service. This would include accurate, up-to-date information regarding said service so that potential users can make informed decisions before investing their dollars.
- A level playing field. Consumers can express themselves and lawfully engage in commerce and innovation without permission or restriction. There will be no gatekeeper or favoritism when it comes to freedom of information.
Price hikes and roadblocks in cyberspace
When William Gibson first coined the term “cyberspace” in his seminal 1984 cyberpunk novel “Neuromancer,” he had no idea that corporate barbarians would soon fight in the real world to monetize the flow of information. Some might say that Julius Genachowski and the FCC are seeking to turn the tide in favor of freedom. Unreasonable prices and information filters cannot stand.