U.S. authorities to back network neutrality rules

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U.S. authorities to back network neutrality rules

Looks to enshrine a level playing field for all.

The United States Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to make an important announcement on Monday that the organisation will be backing a formal net neutrality law, according to multiple reports.

In a speech Monday at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Genachowski is expected to announce rules that stop internet service providers charging to deliver certain web pages faster than others in exchange for payment.

Internet advocates see net neutrality as fundamental to ensuring a level playing field between new companies and established online concerns. Telecommunications companies however are keen to avoid this, since it would stop them charging for valuable new services.

When President Obama appointed Genachowski to the post of FCC chair this was widely seen as a move that would aid supporters of net neutrality issues. The FCC has already censured Comcast for breaking neutrality rules, a move which is now being fought out in the courts.

“This is a very welcome development, and is years past due. The Internet was created and grew up under strict non-discrimination rules,2 said Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of non-profit internet advocates Public Knowledge.

“Those same ideas are as valuable today as they were 10 years ago. Having rules in place will bring a degree of certainty that will help both carriers and consumers alike. Carriers will know what is allowed and what is not; consumers will be relieved to know they will be able to have access to any content and service on a non-discriminatory basis.”

Attempts to codify net neutrality in law have failed in the past but a new bill is now in Congress aimed at locking the concept into trading law.

“We are concerned about the unintended consequences that net neutrality regulation would have on investments from the very industry that’s helping to drive the U.S. economy,” said the CTIA, the wireless trade group, in a statement.

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