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FCC’s Net Neutrality Brings out Lobbying on Both Sides

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn; Photo: fcc.gov

Ahead of the Dec. 21 Federal Communications Commission vote that will determine the fate of Chairman Julius Genachowski’s net neutrality proposal, the lobbyists are swarming Washington.

The Washington Post’s technology blog, Post Tech, reports that today is likely to be the last day of such arm-twisting and cajoling before FCC heads to “its bunker to deliberate a draft of rules that will be voted on,” next week.

On the one hand, Free Press, a nonprofit media advocacy group, has criticized Genachowksi’s proposals for not going far enough to regulate networks to limit paid prioritization, according to Post Tech.

The group entreats visitors to its website to “Demand Real Net Neutrality,” and “Take Action at the FCC,” and it planned to deliver a petition carrying 2 million signatures to the commission.

On the other hand, Post Tech reports telecom giant AT&T and, in particular, its Executive Vice President Jim Cicconi has been one of the most active of companies lobbying FCC on the issue.

Who knows what effects the lobbying will have? But Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said Democrats and Republicans of the five-member body have been meeting “day and night in the hope of achieving” consensus on the issue, according to a report on InformationWeek.

And, she added, she saw that as a growing possibility because the bipartisan group of commissioners all agree something has to be done to solve the current climate on uncertainty surrounding Internet regulation.

“I am not opposed to Congress acting, but if it takes a number of years before effective policy takes shape and gets implemented, that potential lag time could actually do more harm by perpetuating uncertainty in the marketplace,” Clyburn said at a telecom conference last week. “Investors, innovators and consumers deserve and demand certainty.”

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