Professor Tim Wu Praises FCC Plan on Net Neutrality


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New York, September 21, 2009 – Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu, who coined the term “network neutrality,” praised a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission chairman to ensure that Internet service providers keep their networks open to content providers.
Wu called FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s address Monday at The Brookings Institution in Washington an “important speech that fulfills a campaign promise.”
President Obama put his support behind net neutrality – the principle that carriers should carry Internet information equally and not discriminate in favor of certain content -- during last year’s run for the White House. Genachowski served as Obama’s campaign adviser on technology issues.
The plan would expand upon existing FCC net-neutrality “principles” by prohibiting broadband providers from discriminating against lawful Internet content or applications by either blocking it or favoring one application over another. For the first time, it would also apply to wireless, as well as phone, companies.
“The rise of serious challenges to the free and open Internet puts us at a crossroads,” Genachowski said. “We could see the Internet’s doors shut to entrepreneurs, the spirit of innovation stifled, a full and free flow of information compromised.”
Genachowski would also require broadband providers to be “transparent” about how they manage their networks.
“We cannot afford to rely on happenstance for consumers, businesses, and policymakers to learn about changes to the basic functioning of the Internet,” Genachowski said.
Wu said having the FCC push to require transparency is especially significant.
“The transparency principle that Julius Genachowski announced today is perhaps the most innovative part of it -- the idea is just that consumers should know what kind of broadband they are actually getting," Wu said.
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