Statement on Behalf of ITIF by ITIF Senior Research Fellow Richard Bennett on FCC Chairman Genachowski’s Framework for an Open Internet

December 1, 2010

"FCC Chairman Julius Genachowki unveiled the main elements of a very sensible Open Internet framework in his speech at the FCC today. We believe the Chairman’s plan will be broadly supported, and for good reasons. We also believe the plan will help tamp down the often acrimonious controversy over how to best oversee the development of the Internet, establish regulatory clarity, and promote investment in faster and more pervasive broadband networks.

In general terms, the framework strikes all the right notes:

  1. The framework recognizes that transparency is the single most important regulatory principle that can be applied to Internet service agreements today, as it goes much farther than any other single tool to ensure that customers are getting the experience that they reasonably expect.
  2. The framework enshrines the Four Freedoms articulated by Chairman Powell and long accepted as policy by the FCC.
  3. The framework emphasizes a sensible “level playing field” approach over the rather strident “anti-discrimination rule” that some advocates have urged on the Commission. A level playing field approach ensures that applications which require either premium service or discount service can get what they need from network operators to be successful.
  4. The framework recognizes that mobile broadband is less mature and less resilient that fixed, wireline broadband, and seeks to make allowances for the state of its development through greater flexibility on the part of network operators.

The framework avoids the unnecessary and unproductive use of the Title II “nuclear option” which would not have been helpful in any case regarding the alleged violations of Open Internet principles we’ve seen in the past.


We applaud the Chairman’s tenacity and his commitment to a consultative process, and we eagerly await the text of the framework."



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