With crucial Dec. 21 vote fast approaching, Republican and Democratic commissioners are moving toward a consensus, according to commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

December 9, 2010

2 Min Read

With the FCC's important net neutrality vote on Dec. 21 rapidly approaching, Democratic commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn said Thursday that the once-deeply divided Republican and Democratic commissioners are moving toward a consensus. She said both sides are working "day and night in the hope of achieving" consensus.

While she noted that all five commissioners support the concept of an "open Internet," she indicated that there is still some hesitancy over the status of the wireless portion of net neutrality. Indicating she favors the FCC ruling on the entire net neutrality issue, Clyburn added that Congressional solutions could be slow.

"This is about consumers," she said in a speech delivered at a telecom conference in Washington… I am not opposed to Congress acting, but if it takes a number of years before effective policy takes shape and gets implemented, that potential lag time could actually do more harm by perpetuating uncertainty in the marketplace. Investors, innovators and consumers deserve and demand certainty." Many members of Congress have argued that net neutrality rules should be established by Congress and not by the FCC.

Clyburn said the FCC commissioners have developed much consensus on net neutrality, although she indicated the commissioners need to develop more agreement on wireless issues. She added that her focus until the Dec. 21 meeting will be primarily on wireless issues.

Clyburn seems to be taking a more conciliatory stance to working with the two Republican FCC commissioners. Michael Copps, another Democratic commissioner, has taken a harder line, arguing for a reclassification of rules governing net neutrality that would be opposed by the Republican commissioners. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is somewhere in the middle between his Democratic colleagues and must work out a compromise between them.

Clyburn also hailed a proposal made earlier this year by Verizon and Google in which the two firms attempted to work out agreement on net neutrality. "While those two companies may not agree on every single faced of open Internet principles," she said, "they reached agreement on several important standards."


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