Let the lawsuits begin. The Federal Communications Commission today published its Preserving Open Internet document, commonly referred to as Net Neutrality rules, and gave notice that they will take effect on Nov. 20. The FCC approved the rules in December 2010, passed on a 3-2 party line vote: Basically, Republicans decry the move as the FCC grabbing the authority to regulate the Internet, while Democrats believe that rules are necessary to stop providers from putting profits ahead of the public interest. The delay is primarily the result of the time necessary to resolve concerns over burdensome paperwork and other practicalities.
Verizon Communications and MetroPCS have already filed suits that the court refused as being premature, because Preserving Open Internet had not yet been finalized and published in the Federal Register. Refiling the suits is a virtual certainty now that the court’s objection is no longer valid. The legal objections question whether the FCC has the authority to impose rules on Internet providers, with the providers generally taking the position that the government is overstepping its authority by doing so, and that these rules would inhibit future innovation regarding traffic management and business models.
It’s also likely that legislative action will rev up, since Congress passed legislation in April to overturn the FCC’s rules, and the Senate has indicated it would push for the same after publication.
There are three primary provisions: providers have to be clear about their service’s speeds and other service characteristics; providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; and fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic. (See the actual wording, posted below.)
Preserving Open Internet is CFR #2011-24259 [GN Docket No. 09-191; WC Docket No. 07-52; FCC 10-201; Filed: 09/22/11 at 8:45 am; Publication Date: 9/23/2011].
The Federal Register – http://tinyurl.com/3s9pnv4
Preserving Open Internet full text (PDF) – http://tinyurl.com/3cjj4w2
The Hill – http://tinyurl.com/3qh9c8g
Washington Post – http://tinyurl.com/3ttjpnr
Wall Street Journal – http://tinyurl.com/3wyzarx