Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is proposing new regulations related to how internet providers determine what content to allow on their networks. The FCC head will deliver a keynote speech to The Brookings Institute on Monday, where he is expected to discuss some details of the proposal.

Julius Genachowski

Julius Genachowski

The new regulations would provide the criteria that internet providers can use to block or slow traffic to certain content on the internet. The FCC would claim to draw authority to regulate such aspects of internet service under the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Proponents of the new regulations identify the problem in private corporations that provide a substantial portion of the market’s internet service, having unbridled power to discriminate certain websites based on content, or any other arbitrary criteria, by stopping or slowing traffic. This could have implications for political and other types of speech, and consumers’ rights, because of the potential for market and political manipulation by a handful of the nation’s largest corporations.

While Google joins the group advocating such regulations, wireless service providers such as AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are particularly concerned about this type of regulation, though they may not be opposed to some form of anti-discriminatory rules. Their concern is with the types of services that hog bandwidth, and use their network from the internet, causing system overload. They want to be able to manage their network so that it remains manageable, usable and affordable to their customers.

Others object to the allocation of such centralized power in the federal government, suggesting the potential for manipulation may be much greater in a politically motivated environment, such as the Federal Bureaucracy.

FCC Net Neutrality Video