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Genachowski: Dec. 21 Net Neutrality Vote "Essential"

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Tuesday that it is "essential that we move forward next week to adopt the first enforceable rules of the road to protect Internet freedom." That came at the Generation Mobile forum on texting and kids.

The chairman has circulated a draft order for codifying and expanding network neutrality rules that does not rely on Title II reclassification.

Talking about "seizing the opportunities" of broadband, the chairman said one way to do that is to "reserve the freedom and openness of the Internet." He said his order was essential to protecting free speech and creating jobs. "That's why the FCC is moving to preserve the open Internet," he told his audience, though many of the regs won't be applied to mobile broadband, according to the initial draft of the order.

Genachowski said he had "broad support" for the effort, including from carriers. But that support is more for what the item is not, which is a Title II reclassification those carriers called a "nuclear option." Carrier support for the net neutrality regs under Title I has come with the caveat that it is unnecessary and no regs would be preferable.

Genachowski aids have said the vote is still a go for the Dec. 21 public meeting. The only possible hitch could be if either of the Democrats did not feel the language was strong enough on wireless broadband or specialized services. He will need both those votes to approve the new rules.

Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps has said he would still prefer Title II reclassification and has suggested some of the draft language would need to change as it goes through the edit process. If either of those votes did not appear to be locked up, the chairman could always pull the item before the meeting.

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.