The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made proposals to ensure the net remains an open and neutral platform.
The ‘network neutrality' proposals would require firms to ensure all web traffic is treated equally. Associated Press claimed that the new rules would prohibit internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski claimed that doing nothing was not an option. BBC News reported that in his first major speech since his appointment earlier in the summer, he told an audience in Washington that the rules were ‘not about government regulation of the internet'.
He said: “History's lesson is clear. Ensuring a robust and open internet is the best thing we can do to promote investment and innovation. And while there are some who see every policy decision as either pro-business or pro-consumer, I reject that approach; it's not the right way to see technology's role in America.”
In an FCC statement, commissioner Michael J. Copps said: “The internet was born and thrived on openness. Keeping it open as some players amass the power for gatekeeper control is essential. Chairman Genachowski's bold announcement today is a significant further investment in safeguarding internet freedom.
“Broadband users should be able to use any device or application they want, to reach any legal content they wish, using any broadband technology, so long as they don't cause harm to the network. Some rules of the road and a venue for enforcing them are required to make this vision reality.”
He further claimed that a well-considered internet freedom approach will take into account what constitutes reasonable network management practices; how evolutionary and revolutionary changes can alter the landscape and even change the guidelines on what is or is not acceptable.
Ian Moyse, EMEA channel manager at Webroot, claimed that he very much supports net neutrality, and internet regulation or openness will not be decided by any individual organisation, region or regulatory body, but mixed policies, legalities and interpretations.
Moyse said: “Yet, whatever the result of these choices or imposed selections, businesses will still want to own their own destiny. They will want to manage their own bandwidth, know and control what comes down their pipe and when and who can access it.
“Regardless of the decisions at governmental levels, businesses will need and want to control their own traffic and with more and more mobile users becoming the norm, managing this will continue to become an ‘in the cloud' issue.
“Customers will seek and need internet level controls that allow them to stem the flow of large bandwidth eating usage such as streaming video, audio and large downloads both to their networks and also across their mobile user base.”