Stimulus Law Requires Neutrality for (Some of) Net

Free Press has some good news (2/17/09) about the “$7.2 billion to expand broadband access” contained in President Obama’s new American Reinvestment and Recovery Act:

The law attaches open Internet conditions to broadband funds and directs the Federal Communications Commission to produce a national broadband plan.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will distribute the majority of the funds, $4.35 billion, through a temporary grant program. NTIA broadband projects must be completed within two years of the award, provide the greatest broadband speed possible, and adhere to Internet nondiscrimination and openness principles established by the FCC. The law also funds programs that promote increased broadband adoption in low-income communities.

While Free Press director Josh Silver is “pleased that this law requires taxpayer-funded networks to adhere to Net Neutrality principles,” he warns that “these conditions only apply to the broadband lines built with stimulus money. We need Net Neutrality laws to ensure that all networks are open and free from discrimination.” Read the FAIR magazine Extra!: “Deregulation’s History of Empty Promises: Net Neutrality and the Supermedia Monopolies” (3-4/07) by Jeff Chester