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Copps: Net Neutrality Draft is Beginning, Not End

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps neither praised nor panned FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's network neutrality order, which was circulated in draft form Tuesday, but did say there is still work to be done.

While Copps said it was "no secret" he wanted the strongest open Internet protections possible, so that "we don't find ourselves in court every other month." Copps has been one of the strongest supporters of Title II reclassification, wanting to go even further than the chairman's application of only a handful of those common carrier regs to Internet access service.

"Over the next three weeks, I will work tirelessly with stake-holders-including, of course, consumers and Internet innovators-to ensure real network neutrality that protects the online freedom of all Americans," he said.

But he also indicated that the draft order circulated to him and others late Tuesday was not the last word. "Today is the beginning of an important discussion, and not the end," he said. "We have an historic opportunity to make sure this dynamic Internet technology reaches its full potential to create opportunity for every citizen. I hope we will make the most of it. At issue is who will control access to the online experiences of consumers-consumers themselves or Big Phone and Big Cable gatekeepers."

It was unclear from the statement how much the order would have to change, if at all, to insure those opportunities for consumers. Commissioners have three weeks to weigh in with proposed changes before the Dec. 21 meeting.

Copps and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn are both supporters of net neutrality regs, and the chairman will need both votes since the support of either Republican is unlikely. McDowell has already weighed in strongly against it.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.