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Preserving An Ever-Free and Open Internet

by: Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner

May 7, 2014

Over 100,000 Americans have spoken.

And during the past few weeks, tens of thousands of consumers, companies, entrepreneurs, investors, schools, educators, healthcare providers and others have reached out to ask me to keep the Internet free and open. 

While the calls, emails and letters are new, my commitment to Internet freedom is not.  In fact, my public efforts to preserve a free and open Internet began many years ago.

While it is my normal practice not to comment in advance on items which are on circulation out of my deep respect for the integrity of our regulatory and administrative process, given the high level of attention and the outpouring of expression on the notice of proposed rulemaking on Open Internet, I felt it was important to highlight my previously stated views.

When I voted to approve the 2010 Open Internet Order, I voiced four concerns about the scope of the rules and the legal theory upon which the Order was based.

  • First, I made clear that I would have applied the fixed rules to mobile services. 
  • Second, “I would have prohibited pay for priority arrangements altogether.”
  • Third, I would have made an open Internet available to all end users and encouraged the FCC to carefully monitor whether the exceptions in the Order jeopardized the principle that an open Internet truly is available to everyone.

In January, the D.C. Circuit disagreed with the FCC’s legal approach concerning the no blocking and nondiscrimination rules and remanded the issue to this agency.  Unlike many, I actually see this remand as a unique opportunity for us to take a fresh look and evaluate our policy in light of the many developments that have occurred over the last four years. 

There is no doubt that preserving and maintaining a free and open Internet is fundamental to the core values of our democratic society, and I have an unwavering commitment to its independence.  My mind remains open as I continue to evaluate how best to promote these fundamental, core values.

Over 100,000 Americans and counting… I am listening to your voices as I approach this critical vote to preserve an ever-free and open Internet.  

 

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