FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski addressed The Brookings Institution in DC yesterday and laid down the Commission's vision of the future of networking and telecommunications, and it's good stuff: Net neutrality is in, sleazy mobile phone company tricks are out.
This means they cannot block or degrade lawful traffic over their networks, or pick winners by favoring some content or applications over others in the connection to subscribers' homes. Nor can they disfavor an Internet service just because it competes with a similar service offered by that broadband provider. The Internet must continue to allow users to decide what content and applications succeed.
This principle will not prevent broadband providers from reasonably managing their networks. During periods of network congestion, for example, it may be appropriate for providers to ensure that very heavy users do not crowd out everyone else. And this principle will not constrain efforts to ensure a safe, secure, and spam-free Internet experience, or to enforce the law. It is vital that illegal conduct be curtailed on the Internet. As I said in my Senate confirmation hearing, open Internet principles apply only to lawful content, services and applications — not to activities like unlawful distribution of copyrighted works, which has serious economic consequences. The enforcement of copyright and other laws and the obligations of network openness can and must co-exist.
Uh-oh. Sounds like he's saying, "You can have a neutral net, but only if you agree to let ISPs and the entertainment industry spy on every click and every byte, and then degrade the connections of anything they don't like the look of."
Well, we knew that the entertainment industry had the Dems in their pocket. Clinton gave us the DMCA. But it's a start.
(Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)