Source: Google, Verizon near net neutrality plan

Google Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are close to finalizing a proposal for so-called “network neutrality” rules, which would dictate how broadband providers treat internet traffic flowing over their lines, according to a person briefed on the negotiations, the Associated Press reports. A deal could be announced within days, said the person, who did not want to be identified because negotiations are still ongoing. Any deal that is reached could form the basis for federal legislation and would likely shape efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to broker an agreement on the contentious issue, which has pitted the nation’s big phone and cable companies against many big internet companies. The FCC has been holding talks with a handful of large phone, cable and internet companies–including Verizon and Google–to try to reach some sort of industrywide compromise on net neutrality that all sides can accept. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is seeking to adopt rules that would require phone and cable companies to give equal treatment to all broadband traffic traveling over their networks…

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GOP senators move to block FCC on net neutrality

Seven Republican senators have announced a plan to curb the Obama administration’s push to impose net-neutrality regulations on the internet, CNET reports. On July 21, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and six other GOP senators introduced legislation that would dramatically limit the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to regulate broadband providers. “The FCC’s rush to takeover the internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers,” DeMint said in a statement. Without this legislation, DeMint said, the FCC will “impose unnecessary, antiquated regulations on the internet.” The new bill—called the Freedom for Consumer Choice Act, or FCC Act—doesn’t eliminate the FCC’s power over broadband providers. But that power would be narrowed in scope and would come to resemble the antitrust enforcement power of the Department of Justice. Supporters of net neutrality—which include many education groups—say new internet regulations are necessary to prevent broadband providers from arbitrarily restricting content or prioritizing one type of traffic over another…

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FCC votes to reconsider broadband regulations

The FCC's decision could have important implications for schools, many of which favor net-neutrality rules.
The FCC's decision could have important implications for schools, many of which favor net-neutrality rules.

Federal regulators are reconsidering the rules that govern high-speed internet connections, wading into a bitter policy dispute that could be tied up in Congress and the courts for years. The dispute has important implications for schools and colleges, many of which are hoping for clear rules that prevent service providers from discriminating against certain types of internet traffic.

Over the objections of the agency’s two Republican commissioners, the Federal Communications Commission voted June 17 to begin taking public comments on three different paths for regulating broadband. These include a proposal by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat, to define broadband access as a telecommunications service subject to “common carrier” obligations to treat all traffic equally.

Genachowski’s proposal is a response to a federal appeals court ruling this past spring that cast doubt on the agency’s authority over broadband under its existing regulatory framework.…Read More

FCC plan could revive ‘net neutrality’

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to reclassify broadband as a 'telecommunications' service, but without as much regulation.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to reclassify broadband as a 'telecommunications' service, but without as much regulation.

The head of the Federal Communications Commission thinks he has come up with a way to salvage his ambitious national broadband plans and his hope for “net neutrality,” a principle favored by many school technology advocates, without running into legal obstacles that have threatened to derail him.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said May 6 that his agency has crafted a compromise in how it regulates high-speed internet access: It will apply only narrow rules to broadband companies. The FCC chairman, a Democrat, said this delicate dance will ensure the agency has adequate authority to govern broadband providers without being too “heavy-handed.”

But his plan likely will hit legal challenges from the big phone and cable companies, and it already faces significant opposition from Republicans at the FCC and in Congress.…Read More

Could net-neutrality ruling hinder online education?

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's net-neutrality and national broadband plans are in danger after an April 6 court ruling.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's net-neutrality and national broadband plans are in danger after an April 6 court ruling.

A federal court threw the future of internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt April 6 with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The ruling poses a major hurdle for federal policy that school and college administrators hoped would ensure the growth of online education and make high-speed internet affordable for even the smallest school systems and campuses.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose such “net neutrality” obligations on broadband providers.

The ruling marks a serious setback for the FCC, which is trying to adopt official net-neutrality regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat, argues that such rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from using their control over internet access to favor some online content and services over others.…Read More

Net-neutrality dispute heads to court

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Comcast is challenging the FCC's net-neutrality stance in federal court.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ran into a potential setback Jan. 8 in its push to draft rules that would require internet providers to give equal treatment to all data flowing over their networks.

In hearing a legal dispute between the agency and Comcast Corp., a three-judge federal appeals court panel questioned the commission’s authority to impose so-called “net neutrality” obligations on the nation’s largest cable TV and internet operator. Those rules are intended to prevent broadband providers from abusing their control over the market for high-speed internet access.

A decision that goes against the FCC could undermine its ability to impose such rules on all broadband companies—not just Comcast.…Read More