For Immediate Release
In its reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission's Notice of Inquiry (NOI) into broadband Internet network operator's practices, the Open Internet Coalition calls on the FCC to take three key steps to ensure the Internet remains open to innovation and continues to promote consumer choice. A copy of the reply comment is attached.
“The record of the Commission's proceeding demonstrates that there is now a significant imbalance between the anti-competitive investment expectations of network operators and the desire of consumers, application developers and content providers to keep the Internet open,” said Markham Erickson, Executive Director of the OIC.
“We are disappointed that the network operators declined to respond meaningfully to the questions posed by the NOI and instead rehashed their arguments that there is no problem in the broadband industry. The Commission should act now to address the structural problems presented by today's broadband access duopoly,” added Erickson.
According to the OIC, The Commission should:
Require broadband network operators to respond to the questions about packet management and prioritization practices, which have been left unanswered in the network operators' comments. By collecting and evaluating such information, the Commission would be able to determine whether network operators are living up to the principles of the Commission's Broadband Policy Statement and are otherwise not engaging in discriminatory conduct that threatens the open Internet ecosystem.
Clarify that the FCC's broadband Policy Statement is enforceable and set out a fair enforcement procedure. While the Open Internet Coalition believes that an enforceable non-discrimination principle is needed in addition to the existing four principles, we nevertheless believe that even making clear that the August 2005 Policy Statement (http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-260435A1.doc) is enforceable will provide much-needed clarity and give consumers, applications developers and content providers a minimum level of assurance that network operators will not engage in the most anti-competitive and exclusionary behavior.
Supplement the existing four principles of the Policy Statement with a non-discrimination principle that permits reasonable network management and engineering practices, including prioritization of certain traffic, but that prohibits discriminatory behavior with commercial motives such as favoring affiliated content or applications. Network operators' reasonable network management practices based on technical considerations should not encompass the right to engage in discriminatory practices with commercial motives.
The OIC's reply brief concludes that the problems evident in the marketplace for broadband products and services are structural, and must be solved by structural solutions that will protect the open Internet and continue to foster innovation and choice.
About the Open Internet Coalition (www.openinternetcoalition.com): The Open Internet Coalition represents consumers, grassroots organizations, and businesses working in pursuit of a shared goal: keeping the Internet fast, open and accessible to all Americans.
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