It's official, or at least it's officially proposed. As expected, FCC Chair Julius Genachowski announced network neutrality rules in a speech today. The new rules will cover not only wireline networks where the early debate was but there has been little recent activity, but also wireless networks where there are battles currently being fought. Well, whether it turns out to be the right call or not at least the FCC isn't 10 years late this time. Genachowski would like to vote on the rules at the FCC's October meeting, and the feeling seems to be that he has the votes. So we could actually have a new ballgame this year.
The responses from the industry should be interesting to watch. Not the public comments, those won't mean much. I mean what they actually do. What will Apple and AT&T do for instance. I suspect that Apple may just throw in the towel on Google Voice, they've been getting hammered lately in the media about misrepresenting the app rejection. This FCC move will provide a good smokescreen for a retreat. Does AT&T's limitation of the iPhone's VoIP apps to WiFi hotspots become moot immediately? Or will they plead innocent by reason of network congestion?
Probably someone will challenge the whole thing in court, trying if nothing else to slow it down. Nevertheless, it's clear that there's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Julius. Now if we can just get him to fix all that other stuff on the back burner, like intercarrier compensation...
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