Net Neutrality: Back Away Slowly

genachowskiMy analysis on recent developments in the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rulemaking, based in part on comments I heard yesterday at a conference being held as part of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, was posted this morning on CNET.

To me, these and other information crumbs suggest a more measured approach to keeping the Internet open after early comments from the FCC and the White House suggested dramatic expansion of the government’s regulation of ISPs.

The reason for the about-face, as I say in the article, is the growing realization in Washington that the best solution to anti-consumer practices would be more competition rather than micromanaging the network.

As part of the National Broadband Plan being developed by the FCC, the White House is hoping to see universal access at high speeds–anywhere in the United States.

Unlike previous administrations, the Obama government recognizes that information technology is now the driver of economic activity, and a better U.S. infrastructure would not only help with recovery but also keep the U.S. competitive in a global innovation market.

Rattling the neutrality sabre doesn’t fit that agenda, especially when the vast majority of necessary investments in fiber will have to be made not by the feds but by the carriers. The Administration is looking for ways to cooperate, not antagonize, private investment.

Today, FCC Chairman Genachowski takes the stage. It will be interesting to see if there’s any detectable change to his rhetoric on the subject. I’m betting there will be. Stay tuned.