“The Federal Communications Commission should reclassify portions of broadband networks as regulated, common-carrier services to preserve net neutrality protections, Mozilla has said in a new petition to the agency,” Grant Gross reports for PCWorld. “After a contentious debate about U.S. net neutrality rules in recent weeks, Mozilla’s proposal is an effort to define a “new path” for the FCC, Mozilla senior policy engineer Chris Riley said. The browser maker proposes that the FCC create separate rules for how broadband providers manage traffic for their customers and for websites and Web-based service providers.”

“The FCC should redefine the “remote delivery” service offered by the broadband provider to websites and Web services as a regulated service covered by traditional telephone regulations, Riley wrote in a blog post Monday,” Gross reports. “‘We use this as a way to get to meaningful nondiscrimination and no blocking within the last-mile network in a way that will ultimately benefit both edge providers and end users,’ Riley said in an interview. The proposal is a ‘different way of getting to the same place,’ of prohibiting broadband providers from blocking or prioritizing traffic, as proposals from groups that want the FCC to reclassify all broadband service as a regulated, telecom service, he said.”

“Free-market advocates dismissed Mozilla’s proposal, saying the FCC should not regress to the old telephone-style regulatory model. Congress and the FCC have already rejected regulation of Internet transit, said Larry Downes, a tech policy-focused author and former tech law professor. The FCC, in its 2010 net neutrality order, ‘explicitly and sensibly excluded peering, transit, and anything else having to do with the back-end of the Internet,’ he said by email. ‘Congress gave the FCC no authority here, and for good reason,'” Gross reports. “Telephone-style regulations are an ‘historic anomaly, written for a time when a single approved monopoly provider handled interconnection of voice traffic,’ he added. ‘Under the government’s watchful eye, regulated Title II service has been unable to justify a business case for continued investment and innovation; it is dying, having largely been replaced by VoIP and other Internet-based voice services that are better and cheaper.'”

Gross reports, “While the Mozilla petition asks the FCC to forbear from some telephone-style regulations, it doesn’t define which ones the agency should avoid enforcing, added Berin Szoka, president of free-market think tank TechFreedom. An open question on which telephone-style regulations would be enforced would likely discourage broadband investment, he said.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August 2006:

We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.

And as we followed up in September 2009:

That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.

Make that “the same Take over seven years later.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

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