– Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski on
Thursday posted details of a plan under which the government would regulate the
Internet and implement "network neutrality" on the nation’s broadband
networks. The plan calls for Internet service providers to be reclassified as
telecommunications services, and brought under some of the existing rules
governing those services.
In particular, Genachowski wants to ensure that ISPs
cannot provide preferential or discriminatory treatment to particular Web
The new plan from the FCC comes after a recent federal appeals court
ruling that questioned the agency’s authority to regulate U.S. broadband
The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press noted that
Genachowski’s plan will likely stir heated lobbying and debate in Washington, as firms
like Comcast and AT&T argue against while consumer advocates and some
technology firms look to build support.
The ISPs argue that additional
regulations on their businesses by the FCC could compel them to scale back on
network expansion and cut jobs.
"I directed the FCC General Counsel and
staff to identify an approach that would restore the status quo — that would
allow the agency to move forward with broadband initiatives that empower
consumers and enhance economic growth, while also avoiding regulatory
overreach," Genachowski said in a statement.
"In short, I sought an
approach consistent with the longstanding consensus regarding the limited but
essential role that government should play with respect to broadband
(PDF: Genachowski statement)