Next Steps In Net Neutrality

The issue of net neutrality—the idea that internet service providers should not be able to prioritize particular particular sources or types of data—has been pretty contentious for quite some time. ISPs like Verizon say it is necessary to prioritize data in order to be sure systems function properly: you don’t want streaming movies to crowd out first responder or military data. Others suggests that if allowed, companies like Comcast that both provide service and content offer faster service when using their own content, but limit bandwidth when people try to, say, stream content from other creators. The FCC put in some rules, but the telecoms sued, and they will probably be overturned.

Hillicon Valley has reported that the FCC has now created the Open Internet Advisory Committee to try to come up with some middle-ground interpretation policies for the current FCC net neutrality rules.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday announced the membership list for a net-neutrality oversight panel, which will bring together such strange bedfellows such as Disney, Netflix, AT&T and Mozilla.

Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain will serve as chairman of the committee, while David Clark, a research specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and early Internet pioneer, will serve as co-chairman.

While the committee does not include some of the most vocal opponents of net neutrality, some of the companies represented are publicly ambivalent about the FCC’s order, including AT&T….While many Internet providers condemned the FCC’s net-neutrality order when it was adopted, AT&T Vice President Jim Cicconi commended the FCC at the time for “seeking a fair middle ground in this contentious debate.”

Other companies represented on the FCC panel include Comcast, Cisco systems and Alcatel-Lucent. The Writers Guild of America and the National Urban League were also given slots on the committee.

Getting all sides around the table with some great folks at the head. Zittrain is a great thinker who is a true champion of neutrality. Let’s see what they can do.

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