Former FCC Chairman Martin supports net neutrality, but hesitates on wireless

Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin threw his support behind the effort to turn net neutrality principles into hard-and-fast regulations. However, he was skeptical of having the new rules being pushed by the current chairman, Julius Genachowski, apply to wireless companies.

In an interview with USA Today, Martin said that he's glad the current FCC is continuing the push for an open Internet, which he said he laid the foundation for by putting force behind the agency's four current "Internet Principles." Genachowski wants to expand and codify the principles and also apply them to wireless.

Martin said that as FCC chairman, "I tried to protect consumers' ability to get access to any content on the Internet," but in ways that did not harm wireless operators. He said he would have to see the FCC's proposed regulations before deciding whether they should apply to wireless carriers, and noted that when it comes to more regulation "you have to be cautious." A range of players, led by AT&T and Verizon Communications, oppose Genachowski's net neutrality push, arguing that more regulation is unnecessary and applying the principles to wireless could adversely affect mobile networks.

Interestingly, Martin himself has a new home. After a stint with the Aspen Institute think tank following his departure from the FCC, he recently joined law firm Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C. According to a Washington Post report, the law firm works for both AT&T and Verizon, though it did not collect fees from AT&T in 2009 or 2008.

For more:
- see this USA Today article
- see this Washington Post article
- see this release

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