Four influential Democrats urged Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski to take regulatory action to preserve the openness of the Internet.
Proclaiming that "the time for FCC action is now," four influential Democrats on the House Energy Energy and Commerce Committee urged Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday to take regulatory action to preserve the openness of the Internet.
The request came in a letter from Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.; Jay Inslee, D-Wash.; and Mike Doyle, D-Pa.
"Reclassification and clear FCC oversight as contemplated by your 'third way' proposal is critically important for bringing the benefits of broadband to all Americans," they wrote, referring to a controversial Genachowski initiative designed to clear up legal uncertainties about the agency's jurisdiction over broadband.
Strong opposition from major broadband providers and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle has forced the FCC chairman to explore other options.
The four Democrats also criticized the recent announcement of an agreement by Google and Verizon on management of Internet traffic that could serve as a template for regulatory action. Critics assert the agreement would result in a two-tiered Internet that reserves a fast-lane for companies like Google that can afford to pay for priority treatment of their content.
"The recent proposal by Google and Verizon of an industry-centered net neutrality policy framework reinforces the need for resolution of the current open proceedings at the commission to ensure the maintenance of an open Internet," the lawmakers wrote.
The Democrats' recommendations won an immediate endorsement from the media watchdog group Free Press. "The Google-Verizon pact underscores the urgency with which the FCC must act. The industry titans are trying to convince policymakers in Washington to look the other way while carving up the Internet among a few big companies," Policy Director Joel Kelsey warned in a statement.
The next monthly FCC meeting is scheduled for Sept. 23, with the tentative agenda to be circulated in early September.
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