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FCC Releases Open Internet Public Notice

September 1st, 2010 by John Leibovitz - Deputy Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, FCC

By John Leibovitz and Don Stockdale

Over the last several months, Commission staff has pored over the extensive record of public comments we received in response to the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  The discussion generated by the Open Internet proceeding appears to have narrowed disagreement on many of the key elements of the framework proposed in NPRM, including those that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking lawful online content, applications, and services, and would require providers to disclose their network management practices so that consumers and the Commission can be sure that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation, investment, and freedom of speech.

Today the Wireline Competition Bureau and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice that asks specific questions about two issues that would benefit from further development in the record: (1) The relationship between open Internet protections and services provided over the same last-mile facilities as broadband Internet access service (often called “managed” or “specialized “ services); and (2) The application of open Internet rules to mobile wireless Internet access services.  These issues are among the most complex in the open Internet proceeding, and recent events as well as insights gleaned from public comments have raised additional questions for the Commission to consider.

We look forward to receiving your input in the weeks ahead.

Thoughts from San Diego

October 14th, 2009 by John Leibovitz - Deputy Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, FCC

John LeibovitzLast week, the mobile industry held a big conference in San Diego. The fall CTIA show focuses on IT and Entertainment, the growth in attendance over the past few years is a testament to how important mobile broadband has become. It’s not just about phone calls anymore! On the trade show floor I saw booth after booth of businesses showing the latest and greatest mobile apps and devices.

Given this focus on mobile data, it was a fitting place for Chairman Genachowski to deliver a speech outlining the FCC’s mobile agenda.

The speech focused on the mobile broadband opportunity ahead. It identified several actions the Commission will take to accelerate the rollout of advanced 4G networks that will further narrow the performance gaps between the networks we use on the go and those we use in our homes and at work.

In a 4G world, an emergency medical technician will be able to send CT scans from a moving ambulance to an expert doctor waiting in a hospital. Students will be able to download media-rich course materials in a blink to a flat panel e-textbook. We will be able to hold two-way video chats with our friends and family from a mobile device, wherever we go.

One of the main actions the Chairman mentioned is to provide fair rules of the road for an open Internet on all platforms, including mobile.

Openness has been a hallmark of the Internet since its inception and is one of the main reasons for its incredible dynamism. Who could have predicted the billions of web pages, millions of devices, and thousands of applications that the Internet would connect together?

Over the past several years, the FCC has adopted and enforced principles designed to uphold the openness of the Internet. The Chairman believes it is important to that all stakeholders – network providers, developers, device makers, and consumers – have a clear understanding of how these principles apply to them.

Since the Internet is no longer confined to wired connections, it also means that openness should not be confined either. However, wireless and wireline networks are different. So the way in which the principles apply might reflect this difference. The Chairman emphasized this point in his speech.

The FCC is going to launch a proceeding on openness and the Internet. We hope a broad range of people will participate and provide us with information and insight that will help us understand how principles of openness should be applied to wireless.

We’ll provide many opportunities to participate as the proceeding rolls out. Please let us know what you think!