FCC challenge encourages app developers, academics to help keep Internet open

The FCC last week asked researchers and software developers to lend a hand in keeping the Internet open equally to lawful uses by giving consumers the tools to measure and promote Internet openness.

The agency Jan. 5 announced its Open Internet Apps Challenge to encourage the development of applications to give users information about the extent to which their fixed or mobile broadband Internet services are consistent with an open Internet. For example, a software tool could detect whether a broadband provider is interfering with DNS responses, application packet headers or content, a commission press statement announcing the challenge said. “This challenge is about using the open Internet to protect the open Internet,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The challenge also has a research component seeking academic papers analyzing Internet openness measurements, techniques and data.

Challenge winners will be invited to FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C., to present their work to the commission. Winning applications and research will be featured on the commission’s website and social media outlets. Winners will be reimbursed for authorized travel expenses.

The deadline for the challenge is June 1. A public voting period will run from June 15 through July 15. The winner of the public vote will receive the People’s Choice Award. Other award category winners will be chosen by a panel of expert judges. Winners will be announced in August.