WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission told lawmakers no new Internet regulations are necessary because the FCC has all the authority it needs to ensure Internet service providers do not discriminate against customers.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin spoke Tuesday in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's "Future of the Internet" hearing.
Martin said only legal content was protected by the FCC's open-access policy guidelines and filtering out illegal transmissions would be considered reasonable network management that the FCC allows. He also said the FCC should apply "heightened scrutiny" to any network-management techniques that appear to selectively target certain applications.
"I do not believe any additional regulations are needed at this time," Martin said.
Martin noted that the FCC has held two hearings on network neutrality, including one earlier this month at Stanford University. The hearings took place after Comcast admitted delaying some file-sharing traffic as a way to keep Internet traffic flowing.
The network-neutrality debate has divided Congress, with Democrats largely in favor and Republicans mostly opposed. The rift became clearer at Tuesday's committee meeting.
"It is a political division now, and it's getting more so," said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. "It is unfortunate."
Also speaking before the Senate committee on Tuesday were actress Justine Bateman and Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America West.