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Genachowski: Antitrust laws aren't enough for net neutrality

Thu, 05/05/2011 - 8:20am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski again defended the agency's open Internet rules before lawmakers today.

In a speech before the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, Genachowski dismissed suggestions that antitrust laws were the proper way to maintain net neutrality, versus FCC regulations.

"In my view, while critically important, antitrust laws alone would not adequately preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet or provide enough certainty and confidence to drive investment in our innovative future," he said. "As we heard during our FCC proceeding, antitrust enforcement is expensive to pursue, takes a long time and kicks in only after damage is done."

Overturning the FCC's current net neutrality regulations would be harmful by increasing uncertainty for stakeholders in the telecommunications industry, Genachowski said.

The FCC's open Internet rules, adopted by a 3-2 vote last December, have been under attack from Republican members of the House and Senate, who want to overturn the regulations. Lawmakers have attempted to block funding for the regulations and nullify the rules, but so far both efforts have stalled.

Verizon and MetroPCS also sued the FCC over the regulations, but their complaints were dismissed on the grounds that they had been filed prematurely. Verizon plans to re-file its suit after the FCC publishes the regulations in the Federal Register.

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