'Open internet' rules criticised
By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley
Man using phone on the move, AFP/Getty
Studies show 60% of users are interested in mobile internet access
Mobile providers have said that US proposals to ensure all traffic on the internet is treated equally should not be applied to wireless traffic.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants rules to prevent providers blocking or slowing down bandwidth-heavy usage such as streaming video.
Providers claim a two-tiered system is essential for the future vitality of the net.
Mobile operators said any regulation would damage innovation.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said doing nothing was not an option.
In his first major speech since his appointment earlier in the summer, he told an audience in Washington that the rules were "not about government regulation of the internet".
"History's lesson is clear. Ensuring a robust and open internet is the best thing we can do to promote investment and innovation," he told the audience at Washington think tank the Brookings Institution.
"And while there are some who see every policy decision as either pro-business or pro-consumer, I reject that approach; it's not the right way to see technology's role in America."
The FCC's proposals are meant to ensure that internet service providers cannot block or slow down traffic, such as bandwidth-hogging video downloads. Operators must also be transparent about network management, it said.
But providers have argued that a two-tiered internet is essential to effectively manage their networks.
Almost as soon as Mr Genachowski stepped off the podium, industry critics condemned the inclusion of wireless traffic in the new policy proposals.