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Broadband Expert Q&A: Andrew Schwartzman Address Net Neutrality, BitTorrent Litigation

in Broadband Data/Expert Opinion/Net Neutrality/Recovery Act by

WASHINGTON, December 29, 2009 – Andrew Schwartzman, president and CEO of the Media Access Project, expects the Federal Communications Commission will issue rules to regulate internet access to support Net neutrality or open internet principles by the end of the third quarter of 2010. For more on Schwartzman’s expectations on the legislative and Net neutrality fronts read the Q&A below:

Broadband Census News: What will happen on the Net neutrality front in 2010?

Schwartzman: I think the FCC is on track to issue net neutrality rules by the end of the third quarter, but certainly by the end of the year. The real uncertainty is how strong the rules will be. I hope I am right in guessing that the Commission will prove willing to take a pretty hard line on the tough issues, especially defining "reasonable network management." I am less clear on how big a loophole it will leave in the area of private networks. The biggest unknown is how strong a line it will take on applying the rules to wireless; my guess is that it will be fairly stringent.

Broadband Census News: What legislation on the broadband front to you expect to see in 2010?

Schwartzman: A broadband survey bill will probably pass in 2010. That is the only major legislation to expect.

Broadband Census News: What else should we be paying attention to in the New Year?

Schwartzman: The one major thing not covered in your questions is the Comcast BitTorrent litigation. If Comcast wins, everything is up in the air, and legislation will surely be introduced to deal with the question. Because of timing, passage is unlikely until 2011. However, my guess is that the case will be decided in favor of the FCC, perhaps on a narrow basis which will leave the question of the FCC's authority somewhat in doubt.

Winter covered technology policy issues for five-and-a-half years as a reporter for the National Journal Group. She has worked for USA Today, the Washington Times, the Magazine Group, the State Department’s International Visitor’s Program, and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. She also taught English at a university in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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