Washington

Genachowski: Meetings Aren't Secret; Outcome Still Uncertain

Joint letter calls for FCC to "abandon" talks 8/05/2010 01:05:06 PM Eastern

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski bristled at the suggestion the FCC was holding secret meetings on network neutrality
or that they were among a hand-picked group.
 

That came in a press conference following the FCC's August public meeting Thursday.

 

The
commission has been hosting meetings recently among representatives of
Google, Skype, Verizon, AT&T, NCTA and the Open Internet Coalition,
including two this week and one over the weekend, on possible
targeted network neutrality legislation.
 

The FCC has
been posting notices of the meetings on its Web site. But some of those
not at the meetings have complained. Asked if holding secret talks and
potential side deals was selling out network
neutrality backers, the chairman said: "The talks obviously aren't
secret," and added that "any deal that does not preserve the freedom and
openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs would be
unacceptable."
 

He said the FCC was
exploring "every process we can think of" and consulting through staff a
"very broad degree of stakeholders."
 

"I hope we see good, substantive solutions coming out of this," he said. "I don't know if it will."
 
As to
hand-picking the representatives, the chairman said that the FCC was
still in the middle of a process that has included public workshops,
online input and extensive meetings.

He said
there has been "very extensive consultation and dialog with many other
people," and that representatives of the meetings at issue include from
the Open Internet Coalition and "people who have
historically been active on different sides of the issue."
 

But several
members of that coalition not directly represented in the talks,
including Free Press and Media Access Project, are very unhappy with
those meetings, and reports that two of the companies
represented, Verizon and Google, will build on their joint network
neutrality position with a traffic management agreement that does not
include wireless broadband.
 

In a joint letter Wednesday, Public Knowledge, Consumer Federation of America, Free Press, Media Access Project,

Media and Democracy Coalition, New America Foundation's Open Technology
Initiative, and the Center for Media Justice, called on the FCC to
"abandon" the talks with Google, Verizon and  instead proceed with clarifying its broadband authority, inculding over network neutrality, universal service, privacy, cybersecurity, and
more.

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