Highlights From FCC OpenInternet.gov Announcement: "The key to the Internet’s success has been its openness."


The full text is available elsewhere, but I wanted to highlight a few key passages from: "The Open Internet: Preserving the Freedom to Innovate"

Posted by Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

All bold highlighting is by me.

The key to the Internet’s success has been its openness.

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Notwithstanding its unparalleled record of success, today the free and open Internet faces emerging and substantial challenges.

We’ve already seen some clear examples of deviations from the Internet's historic openness. We have witnessed certain broadband providers unilaterally block access to VoIP applications and implement technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer software distributing lawful content. We have even seen one service provider deny users access to political content.

<snip>

I believe we must choose to safeguard the openness that has made the Internet a stunning success. That is why today, I delivered a speech announcing that the FCC will be the smart cop on the beat when it comes to preserving a free and open Internet.

In particular, I proposed that the FCC adopt two new rules to help achieve this.

The first says broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications. The second says broadband providers must be transparent about their network management practices.

<snip>

I also proposed that the FCC formally enshrine the four pre-existing agency policies that say network operators cannot prevent users from accessing the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.

Basically, this is a good thing, especially the freedom to attach devices. (see: Carterfone). Back in the day, AT&T not only held a monopoly on the phone network but also on phones. Anything you plugged into the network had to come from Ma Bell. The Carterfone decision changed that rule, allowing customers to plug their own "non-harmful" equipment into the network and paving the way for fax machines and eventually modems. Modems led to mass adoption of online services and the Internet.

Good things can happen when you get out of the way of innovation.