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FCC: Wired and Wireless Should Be Equal

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said earlier today that wireless carriers should be subject to the "open Internet" rules that home broadband providers must now uphold. In fact, wireless carriers should not be allowed to block certain type of Internet traffic travelling over their networks. The chairman is also proposing that Internet carriers cannot discriminate against certain types of traffic by degrading service.

This extension of regulation would mean that wireless providers such as AT&T and Verizon could not ban the use of file-sharing services on their wireless networks. That would also mean that land-based broadband providers can not throttle bandwidth based on user activity. The FCC is already at war with Comcast Corp, with the broadband provider suing the FCC, claiming that the organization had no right to tell it how to run its network.

The "war" isn't rwally anything new. While broadband and wireless companies fight to control the amount of data each subscriber uses based on the data type, Internet companies are struggling to declare that all types of data are equal, a "Net neutrality" as the AP reports. If left unchecked, Internet carriers become "the gatekeepers of the Internet, able to shut out innovation" when they are allowed to degrade and block traffic.

The FCC chairman also wants to make it a formal rule that Internet service providers must tell customers about how they manage traffic to handle congestion. He believes that some are currently managing traffic "in subtle ways" without notifying customers.