Kerry, Dorgan, Wyden Back Net Neutrality Compromise

Democratic senators urge FCC to decide rulemaking in December
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Three veteran Hill supporters of FCC action on
network neutrality have given FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski a shout-out
for what they and many others perceive as his plan to propose a compromise
network neutrality item.

In a letter to Genachowski only hours before he is
widely expected to circulate a network neutrality item to the other
commissioners for a vote at the Dec. 21 meeting, Democratic Senators John Kerry
(Mass.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.) urged him to "bring the
Open Internet rulemaking to conclusion in December."

Their support of network neutrality regs is
not a surprise, but given their support for strong such regulations, it is
telling that all three say they support a "principled center"
approach.

According to numerous sources inside and outside
the FCC, the chairman is expected to propose expanding and codifying network
neutrality regs pinned to the FCC's current Title I information services
definition of Internet access, rather than reclassifying it as a Title II
common carrier service with liberal forbearance.

While not explicitly supporting that approach,
which is yet to be either announced or confirmed by the chairman, the
legislators say that: "We understand that there are some who would have
you go further and some that would have you do nothing. But we believe you
are headed toward a principled center and we support that effort."

The chairman has three Democratic votes for network neutrality
regs, though given Michael Copps' strong stand for Title II, the
"principled center" will likely have to be strong enough to satisfy
his express desire for sufficient Internet protections. An FCC source speaking
on background said Tuesday that a number of industry players are also
supportive of the chairman's new proposal. The National Cable &
Telecommunications Association and AT&T, among others, were widely believed
to have been ready to endorse a similar compromise proposal hammered out with
the help of House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman
(D-Calif.) before that fell apart for lack of Republican support.

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