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Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, today defended the government’s delays in implementing a net neutrality policy. He also offered mixes comments regarding a recent Google-Verizon proposal.
Back when President Barack Obama was campaigning for office, he made net neutrality (the idea that all Web traffic should be treated equally by Internet service providers) a big part of his tech policy platform. So why are we still in the proposal phase? Genachowski blamed a “frustrating and seriously incorrect” decision by a federal appeals court arguing that the FCC had overstepped its bounds when it slapped down Comcast.
Now, Genachowski said the FCC’s lawyers are looking at how the agency can work within the ruling while still enforcing net neutrality. The agency proposed a “third way” earlier this year where the FCC would regulate Internet access but not content.
Genachowski was speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, where he was also asked about a controverisal Google-Verizon proposal which ostensibly advocated for neutrality but also waffled on whether wireless Internet should be regulated. He replied that he was glad to see companies that seem to be on opposite sides of the issue working together. The policy needs to be developed with a lot of public input, he said, rather than “having some government policymakers and lawyers sit in a room and come up with a right answer.”
At the same time, Genachowski said the proposal “slowed down some other processes that could have led to a resolution.” With a shrug, he added, “But there we are with that.”