Washington Post Tells FCC To Scrap Nondiscrimination Principle Plans
Newspaper Editorializes Against 'Micromanaging' ISPs
John Eggerton 9/28/2009 12:17:12 PM EDT

In its lead editorial Monday, The Washington Post dubs FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed expansion and codification of Internet access principles "heavy handed" and says the agency "should not be telling Internet service providers how to run their businesses."

The newspaper says Genachowski will jeaporadize the goal of an open Internet with "attempts to micromanage what has been a vibrant and well-functioning marketplace," and called on him to shelve the so-called fifth principle of nondiscrimination.

Genachowski lit a fire under the long-simmering network neutrality debate at a speech at the Brookings Insitution last week when he said he would propose at the FCC's October meeting to add two new openness principles--nondiscrimination and transparency--to the current four, and apply them to wireless as well as wired broadband.

The paper advised the FCC to "embrace" the transparency idea, but scrap the other.

Cable and phone ISPs share the Post's concern that the the proposal could discourage investment and is unnecessary because the market is already correcting itself.

"[The chairman] and other proponents of federal involvement cite a handful of cases they say prove that, left to their own devices, ISPs such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T will choke the free flow of information and technology," said the paper. "One example alluded to by the chairman: Comcast's blocking an application by BitTorrent that would allow peer-to- peer video sharing. Yet that conflict was ultimately resolved by the two companies -- without FCC intervention..."