FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed effort to codify and expand network openness principles does not supplant congressional efforts to do the same, said one top lawmaker Monday.
The chairman got a number of shout-outs Monday for his proposal to make the FCC an Internet openness cop by expanding and cofidying its access principles, but Ed Markey (D-Mass.), former chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, indicated that he would continue pushing network neturality legislation.
"This is a significant step towards preserving the free and open nature that has enabled the Internet to become a platform for innovation, job-creation and economic growth," said Markey, who recently introduced a bill along with Rep Ann Eshoo (D-Calif.) to codify the FCC's principles. "I hope the full Commission follows Chairman Genachowski’s lead in this vital effort."
But he also said that the proposal would be a "complement" to the bill that he and Eshoo introduced. The bill got a big name co-sponsor last week when Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman announced at an FCC oversight hearing that he was signing on.
The Genachowski proposal drew praise from another one of network neutrality's strongest backers on the Hill, as well as numerous groups long advocating for a stronger government role in what they see as preserving and open and innovative Internet.
“I applaud today’s announcement by the FCC that they will begin to create rules in support of net neutrality. I will closely follow the process and make sure the FCC moves quickly to approve strong, enforceable non-discrimination protections," said Sentor Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in a statement.
“By ensuring that consumers and online businesses can use the Internet without interference from broadband service providers, net neutrality will prevent the advent of haves and have-nots."
For his part, Dorgan is taking a wait and see, make that a "follow closely and see," approach to possible legislation.
"Senator Dorgan will follow the rule making process closely and if legislation is needed to ensure internet freedom, he will introduce legislation," Director of Communications Justin Kitsch told B&C. "As you know, Senator Dorgan has been pushing this issue for years and is very pleased with today’s big news that the agency is moving ahead on this important issue."
“In a landmark move, Chairman Genachowski has put the FCC on course to protect the Internet economy and make sure it promotes consumer-friendly innovation," said the Open Internet Coalition, which includes Google, Skype, Sling Media, Paypal, Amazon and Public Knowledge. "Over the last several years, the uncertainty around the extent and enforceability of non-discrimination rules has cast a shadow over investment and potentially stifled a key element of growth. The bold step by the Chairman will fulfill President Obama’s repeated commitment to net neutrality policies."