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ACLU to FCC: It's Title II Time

The American
Civil Liberties Union has released a report detailing why it thinks the
FCC should impose Title II common carrier regulations on broadband
access services.

In Network
Neutrality 101, the group, which calls network openness a key free
speech issues, argues that common carrier rules apply to most forms of
telecommunications, and as they have been to railroads,
canals, telegraphs and telephones, they should be applied to the online
world. "These rules have already been written into the law by Congress;
the FCC should apply them to broadband," said ACLU.

FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski has proposed applying some Title
II telecommunications service common carrier rules to Internet Service
Providers, but that ran into heavy fire from network providers
and many in Congress. That option is still on the table, but so are
others like trying to find broadband oversight authority under the Title
I information service designation under which the FCC currently
regulates broadband.

"As we enter
a new phase in the Internet's history, network neutrality needs to be
given legal force so that it cannot be swept away by powerful
corporations and so that cyberspace remains the free
and open medium that we have come to expect."

Without that protection, ACLU argues, those companies will make "fundamental and detrimental" changes to the open Internet.

For their
part, those companies have pointed out there is scant evidence of
blocking or degrading content, and that it is in the best interests of
their companies in a wildly competitive marketplace
to give users the best Internet experience possible which in addition
to being able to access content and applications of their choosing, also
includes managing their networks for the booming volume of traffic. For
example, the International Telecommunications
Union predicted Tuesday that 2 billion people worldwide will be online
by the end of this year.

tabbing of network neutrality as "one of the foremost free speech issues
of our time" comes the same week that freedom is being celebrated by
news organizations, academics and the public (