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FCC chief claims power over network management

Vows rescue of coders and consumers

The other Republican commissioners - Deborah Tate and Roger McDowell - played down the possibility of regulation with their speeches during the hearing. But they were counterbalanced by the two Democrats: Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps.

Copps wants "forceful" action. And he wants it sooner rather than later.

"I hope there will be more hearings like this across the country because so much in terms of economic growth and individual opportunity hinges on protecting the integrity and the openness of the internet," he said. "That wonderful open and dynamic internet, perhaps the most expansive and liberating technology since the printing press, is in fact under threat. We will keep it open - keep it free - only if we act forceful to make that happen."

He's advocating an update to the commission's internet policy statement that would specifically prohibit Comcast and other ISPs from discriminating against certain types of traffic.

"Now is the time to add an enforceable principle of non-discrimination to our internet policy statement - a clear strong declaration that we will not tolerate unreasonable discrimination by network operators and we have in place important polices to make sure that anyone with other ideas isn't going to get away with it. And by the way, this should apply to wireless as well as to wireline operators."

Cue cheers from a very pro-net-neutrality Silicon Valley crowd.

Comcast did not attend the hearing - though Martin made it clear the company was invited weeks ago. The big-name ISP is busy telling the world it can regulate itself. ®

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