Groups across the spectrum, from consumer advocates to broadband providers, reacted favorably to the FCCs announcement on Thursday that it will study whether net neutrality problems exist and, if so, whether they should be regulated.
Debates over net neutrality took center stage last year as Congress attempted a rewrite of the 1996 Telecom Act. Content providers such as Google and Amazon.com fear companies such as AT&T Inc. blocking their traffic, or charging a premium to deliver it.
The FCC would not take a position on the controversy except to point to its four principles of broadband fairness, released in 2005.
We seek comment on how broadband providers are managing their Internet traffic, whether certain traffic is prioritized, and whether our policies should distinguish between content providers that charge end users for access to content and those that do not, said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin at the commissions monthly meeting on Thursday.
The FCC is investigating how broadband providers are managing Internet traffic on their networks; whether providers charge different prices for different speeds or capacities of service; whether the agencys policies should distinguish between content providers that charge end users for access to content and those that do not; and how consumers are affected by these practices.
The following groups commended the FCCs notice of inquiry on net neutrality: The Alliance for Public Technology; AT&T Inc.; the Telecommunications Research and Action Center; the Center for Individual Freedom; USTelecom; and Verizon Communications Inc.; and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.