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Genachowski Pitches For Net Neutrality, Mobile Broadband in Beirut

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski took his pitch for network neutrality and mobile broadband to Beirut, according to a copy of his prepared remarks for an International Telecommunications Union regulators symposium there.

Net neutrality and mobile broadband were two of five key goals the chairman outlined in his speech.

The chairman said communications is being transformed by two forces, digital and mobile, which he suggested could be harnessed for peace and prosperity and the economic and physical well-being of nations around the globe.

Genachowski talked of the importance of reaching out to the international community, including from 22 nations that already have broadband plans.

The FCC is currently working on its own such plan, due to Congress Feb. 17.

He said the FCC's broadband focus is on universal availability, seizing the opportunity of mobile, promoting competition, network openness, and regulatory transparency.

"At the FCC, we have started a proceeding aimed at preserving an open and unfettered Internet. This proceeding is not about government regulation of the Internet," he told his audience. "It's about ensuring that no one, not the government and not companies that provide Internet access, restricts the free flow of lawful information and services over the Internet.

"Our goals are to ensure that consumers and the market can pick winners and losers; to promote competition; and to promote continued investment and innovation as our Internet future unfolds."

That future, he suggested, was going to be increasingly mobile, a point he has made repeatedly back home, and a driving force behind the FCC's current probe into reclaiming broadcast spectrum and turning it over to wireless broadband companies. "We believe that broadband is the future of mobile, and also that mobile is a key part of the strategy for broadband," he said, pointing out that smart phone sales in the U.S. have doubled in the past year.

That and the rise of 4-G services requires more spectrum as well as more efficient use of current spectrum, he said.