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Federal Communications Commission



Future of Internet Policy in America

April 21st, 2010 by Admin User

Chairman Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
 
The Third Way: The Future of Internet Policy in America.
Online Video Address

 
Hello, I’m Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC.
 
[I’ve announced] a suggested path forward -- a “third way” approach -- for the FCC to address the serious legal issues raised by the recent court decision in the Comcast case.
 
I blogged about this on Broadband.gov, where you can also find a deeper explanation of the legal issues from FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick.
 
The legal issues are complex.
 
But what’s at stake is whether we can move forward with policies that advance the global competitiveness of the U.S., and preserve the Internet as a powerful platform for innovation, free speech, and job creation.
 
We need a solid legal foundation to make sure we can implement the National Broadband Plan and pursue policies like:

 

  • Extending high-speed broadband to all Americans wherever they live;
  • Protecting and empowering consumers, and ensuring healthy and fair competition;
  • Promoting the safety of the public, through E911 and initiatives to guard against cyber attack;
  • Lowering the costs of broadband investment and accelerating deployment; and
  • Preserving the freedom and openness of the Internet.

We need to do this in a way that reflects an appropriate view of the role of government. One that takes a light-touch approach to fast-changing technologies.  One that reflects a strong belief in the free market and in private investment as essential engines of economic growth; the importance of a healthy return on investment; the powerful role that entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, and small businesses must play in fueling job creation and American economic success.
 
And also an understanding that the government has a vital but limited role in advancing common goals.
 
Prior to the Comcast decision, there had been a consensus -- a status quo -- about the FCC’s role and authority to advance broadband initiatives that are so important to all Americans.
 
The goal of the third way approach that we announce is to restore that status quo.  It is a narrow and tailored approach that will ensure we can protect and empower consumers, foster healthy competition, promote strong investment and innovation -- that we have a vibrant, open, world-leading broadband Internet available to all Americans.
 
This third way is an approach based on my belief that the extreme alternatives to a light-touch approach are unacceptable.  Heavy-handed prescriptive regulation can chill investment and innovation, and a do-nothing approach can leave consumers unprotected and competition unpromoted, which itself would ultimately lead to reduced investment and innovation.
 
It is also an approach that does not involve regulating the Internet.  It would preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet.  It flows from a deep recognition that one of the Internet’s greatest strengths -- its unprecedented power to foster innovation and free speech -- stems from the absence of any central controlling authority, either public or private. The approach should not and does not involve regulating the Internet.
 
I encourage everyone to learn more about this at Broadband.gov.  I will ask my Commission colleagues to join me in soon launching a public process seeking comment on the issues raised by the court decision.  We will seek input on all options, and invite new ideas.  I call on all stakeholders to work with us productively to solve the problem the Comcast decision has created in order to ensure a solid legal foundation for protecting consumers, promoting innovation and job creation, and fostering a world-leading broadband infrastructure for all Americans.



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