Don’t Call Them ‘Utility’ Rules: The FCC’s Net Neutrality Regime, Explained
A great post from John Brodkin, the news source I trust the most to interpret the tea leaves for the future of the FCC’s intervention into the internet service provider arena.
A few quick bullets:
- No fast lanes
- No throttling
- No Blocking
- No ban on data Caps
- FCC can intervene if caps and "zero rating" are seen to damage consumers or competition.
- New Network Disclosure rules (outages, breaches, etc.)
- Allows reasonable network management (e.g. network segmentation during a worm attack wouldn't be considered "throttling or blocking".)
- Standard for future conduct will be created
- Groundwork for Universal Service Fees, but no taxes or fees at this point.
As this proceeds you also have to wonder where and how other common carrier rules sets apply, like the FCC secrecy of communications act, etc.
Within a few weeks we’ll have a huge document full of legalese on the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, to replace the near-200-page order from 2010 that was mostly overturned by a court ruling last year.
But there are enough details in the 4-page summary of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal released today for us to tell you in general terms what it does and doesn’t do. FCC officials also provided further background in a phone call with reporters today. One thing they were clear on: this isn’t “utility-style regulation,” because there will be no rate regulation, Internet service providers (ISPs) won’t have to file tariffs, and there’s no unbundling requirement that would force ISPs to lease network access to competitors.
But the order does reclassify ISPs as common carriers, regulating them under Title II of the Communications Act, the same statute that governs telephone companies. ISPs will not be allowed to block or throttle Internet content, nor will they be allowed to prioritize content in exchange for payments. The rules will apply to home Internet service such as cable, DSL, and fiber, and to mobile broadband networks generally accessed with smartphones.