In today's net neutrality action by the Federal Communications Commission there's good news and bad news. The good news is that, thanks to Commissioners Copps and Clyburn -- not to mention a nationwide network of net neutrality activists -- the proposal approved today is better than the original circulated by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. For instance, the FCC has now stated that it does not condone discriminatory behavior by wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T -- an important piece that was missing from the first draft.
The bad news is that, while it's no longer worse than nothing, the rule approved today is not nearly strong enough to protect consumers or preserve the free and open Internet. And with so much at stake, I cannot support it.
I'm still very concerned that it includes almost nothing to protect net neutrality for mobile broadband service -- often the only choice for broadband if you live in rural or otherwise underserved areas. And I'm particularly disappointed that the FCC isn't specifically banning paid prioritization -- the creation of an Internet "fast lane" for corporations that can afford to pay for it.
But here's the important thing to remember: This fight's not over. The FCC must vigorously enforce these new regulations -- and it must follow through on addressing wireless discrimination going forward.
So what now for advocates of true net neutrality? First, we need to work together to make sure the FCC keeps the promises it made this week -- just as our movement was instrumental in improving these regulations from the first draft, we'll be critical in ensuring that the regulations are enforced vigorously.
And I'm going to keep working with net neutrality advocates around the country to see if there are legislative or administrative steps that can be taken to strengthen these protections.
But, for today, know that the work we're doing to save the Internet is making a difference. Today, the FCC took a small step forward -- too small by my estimation, but forward nonetheless.
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