Since the FCC adopted rules to protect an open Internet on Tuesday, many have asked whether the rules could have gone further to better protect users and innovators or whether the FCC’s political strategy was flawed. These are all valid questions, and I’m sure they will continue to be debated for a long time. However, in this post, I want to focus on the protections for users and innovators that the FCC did adopt.
Since Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC, circulated his proposal for network neutrality rules to the other commissioners on December 1, Commissioner Copps and Commissioner Clyburn, the two other Democratic commissioners, had been negotiating with the chairman over improvements to the order. Since the two Republican commissioners had made clear that they would not back any network neutrality proposal, a rejection by Copps (or Clyburn) would have killed the proposal.
When the FCC published the text of the order on Thursday afternoon, it became clear how important these negotiations have been. While Commissioners Copps and Clyburn did not get the exact protections for users and innovators they had asked for, they managed to improve the chairman’s original proposal quite a bit.