FCC Commissioner Clyburn Breaks with Chairman on Wireless Rules
Clyburn cautioned that net neutrality does not cause the development of two different kinds of Internet worlds.Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mignon Clyburn distanced herself from the position of the body's chairman, Julius Genachowski, with remarks during the Practicing Law Institute's annual telecommunications summit, telling the audience she thought net neutrality-a concept supporting a free and open Internet-- should extend to wireless networks as well. "While I recognize that there are distinctions between wired and wireless networks, I think it is essential that our wireless networks-those of the present and future-grow in an open way just as our wired ones have," she said. The speech came as the FCC prepares for a vote on net neutrality later this month. The proposal would build upon framework developed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman and Sen. Harry Waxman, D-Calif., which would see the agency move phone and cable companies into the Title II, or Broadcast Servers, section of the Telecommunications Act passed in 1996. In September, legislation aimed at regulating how Internet providers such as Comcast offer Internet service to their customers collapsed in the face of Republican opposition.
"During the past year, we observed consensus in action, when Verizon and Google put their collective heads together, for the specific purpose of finding common ground. They first submitted a letter to the Commission highlighting their commonalities, followed by a proposal on which they both agreed," Clyburn said. "While those two companies may not agree on every single facet of open Internet principles, they reached agreement on several important standards."