Press Release

Public Knowledge Tells FCC Hearing Rules Needed To Protect Open Internet

April 28, 2010 , ,

Public Knowledge President and Co-Founder Gigi B. Sohn said today that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should enact rules to meet the threats to an open Internet.

Testifying at a Commission hearing in Seattle on “Approaches to Preserving the Open Internet,” Sohn said that, “the open, decentralized nature of the Internet is at risk, as the cable, telephone and wireless companies that provide the on-ramps to the Internet seek to insert themselves in the middle – picking winners and losers in the process. The FCC’s Open Internet rulemaking proceeding, which would prohibit this kind of discrimination, is a welcome step towards preserving the open Internet.”  The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. PST, 12:30 p.m. EST.  It will be streamed here.

Sohn’s written statement is here.

Sohn’s oral statement is here.

The FCC in response to the threats should enact a set of rules built around the sections of the Communications Act which bar “unjust or unreasonable” behavior by telecommunications carriers, and should apply those rules to high-speed Internet (broadband) services. Such an approach would put the Commission on a sound, yet flexible, legal footing, Sohn said.

Addressing one of the central issues in the Net Neutrality debate, Sohn said in her oral statement that broadband providers should not be able to sell services that prioritize one customer’s traffic over another’s.  Such an approach would favor wealthy companies and would create a two-tiered Internet, Sohn said.  In her written testimony, Sohn said:  “The Commission should find prioritization presumptively unreasonable when it involves the use of deep packet inspection or other tools that invade users privacy; degrades another user’s service; or allows the access provider to pick winners and losers among application, services and content providers, thereby changing the fundamental nature of the Internet.”