FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the Comcast ruling and Google and Verizon's separate plan threw a hitch in his agency's own network neutrality plans.
Federal Communication Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski blamed the lack
of a new policy for network neutrality on a federal court's decision to expel
his agency's bid to regulate Comcast's online management.
Genachowski, who spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit here Nov. 17, also said a
parallel network neutrality plan from Google and Verizon threw a hitch in FCC
Network neutrality calls for Internet service providers to treat all traffic
equally and not give preferential treatment to some Websites over others. Net
neutrality is a staple of the FCC National Broadband Plan
to connect all individuals and
businesses to broadband Internet service.
When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out
the FCC's decision to regulate Comcast's online
management April 6, it derailed the FCC's plans, said Genachowski.
"We were on course to adopt smart, sensible rules when we got a
frustrating and seriously incorrect decision from the courts that complicated
what we had to do," he said.
Genachowski warned Congress that the court ruling would put a crimp in the
FCC's plans to ensure that broadband providers keep their pipes open without
favoring their own content over that of other providers. He echoed that
"We're dealing with that," he said. "We have terrific, smart
lawyers trying to figure out the best way, the best basis on which we can rest
rules. That will happen."
Genachowski also asserted that Google and Verizon's net neutrality proposal
in August threw a hitch in the FCC's negotiations.
Google and Verizon pledged to provide enforceable prohibition of any move by
an Internet provider against openness, and that there would be no blocking or
degrading of traffic. Paid prioritization, they argued
, would be against the law.
The FCC promptly abandoned ongoing negotiations, a sign that Google and
Verizon had touched a sore spot by going over its head.
The chairman said that while some of the ideas Google and Verizon proposed
reflect progress made on the issue of establishing openness and freedom on the
Internet, he would have "preferred that they not do exactly what they did,
when they did."
"I think that it had an effect of slowing down some other policies that
could have led to a resolution," Genachowski said.
Meanwhile, he also said the FCC is trying to maximize innovation and
investment and "get the rules right."
On another matter, Genachowski said he wasn't sure yet
whether the expanding powers of Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms on
the mobile Web were good or bad for the industry.
He said the new "apps economy" has created hundreds of thousands of
jobs for software developers.