Open Internet needs open discussion, says FCC commissioner

by Steve Blum • , ,

No back room deals.

Get the net neutrality conversation out of Washington and into the light. That was the message last week from FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, speaking in Sacramento at a forum organised by congresswoman Doris Matsui.

The inference I got from Roseworcel’s prepared statement is that she 1. favors the classic definition of net neutrality – all data is treated equally, 2. thinks reclassifying Internet access and transport as a common carrier service (i.e. Title II, in Washington-speak) is a good idea, and 3. chairman Tom Wheeler’s no lobbyist left behind attitude will not result in good policy. See what you think

I believe the FCC must find a way to put open Internet policies back in place. We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind.

So as we look for a way forward, I am pleased that Chairman Wheeler has recently acknowledged that all options, including Title II, are on the table. As we proceed, we must also be mindful that more than 3.7 million people have written the agency to express their opinion. Openness and transparency matter too. It is good the FCC is hosting Internet roundtables back in Washington. But we should be open to more than discussion inside our building inside the Beltway. Because this is big — really big.

Rosenworcel has a history of independent thinking and voting and the smarts to make her points well. Her colleague on the democrat-appointed side of the commission, Mignon Clyburn, echoed some of the same sentiments at the Sacramento event, which, given the preference for no regulation on the republican side, means that Wheeler’s approach is finding little love for now.