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FCC Focuses On Waxman 'Net Neutrality' Framework

With the Federal Communications Commission's announcement that it will review net neutrality on Dec. 21, the real devil will be in the details: What framework will be voted on by the commissioners, who are already divided, perhaps irretrievably? The focus then is on "the framework" developed by Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman of California, who is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In his remarks Wednesday about the Dec. 21 meeting, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said: "This proposal would build upon the strong and balanced framework developed by Chairman Henry Waxman, which garnered support from technology and telecommunications companies, big and small, as well as from consumer and public interest groups."

While the actual framework won't be known until it is formally presented, Waxman's early efforts to work out a compromise on net neutrality may hold some hints. Initially favoring a move to so-called Title II telecommunications to regulate some aspects of the Internet, Waxman--and the FCC--have dropped that measure, much to the delight of carriers and cable companies.

With the knowledge that the proposal is dynamic and subject to change since his Sept. 29 statement, Waxman outlined "key consumer protections" including enforcing transparency of broadband providers' practices, prohibiting broadband and app providers from blocking Web sites, preventing carriers from discriminating against any lawful Internet traffic and restoring the FCC's authority to prevent blocking Internet content, which was struck down in April by a U.S. Appeals Court in favor of Comcast.

Advocates on both sides of the debate have begun to weigh in as they attempt to decide which way the wind will blow on the Dec. 21 vote.

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