Saturday, September 24, 2011

FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Made Official; Start on Nov. 20

The FCC's Net Neutrality Rules (or "Preserving the Open Internet") were published in the US Federal Register on Friday. This makes the rules official, and sets an "Effective Date: These rules are effective November 20, 2011".

See the document - here and its summary below.

According to the US press, the final word hasn't been said yet. Reuters reports that "Now that the rules are official, a slew of lawsuits are expected. ISPs have argued that the FCC has limited jurisdiction over cyberspace and that the marketplace alone should determine fee schedules. Verizon is expected to mount a court challenge, and Congressional Republicans have pledged to overturn the rules". ("FCC Makes Its Net Neutrality Rules Official" - here).
Note that Verizon Wireless recently published its "Network Optimization" policy (here), which seems to be addressing these rules very well - including the part of reasonable network management, as they will limit traffic on congested cells only.

"SUMMARY: This Report and Order establishes protections for broadband service to preserve and reinforce Internet freedom and openness. The Commission adopts three basic protections that are grounded in broadly accepted Internet norms, as well as our own prior decisions. First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful Web sites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic. These rules, applied with the complementary principle of reasonable network management, ensure that the freedom and openness that have enabled the Internet to flourish as an engine for creativity and commerce will continue. This framework thus provides greater certainty and predictability to consumers, innovators, investors, and broadband providers, as well as the flexibility providers need to effectively manage their networks. The framework promotes a virtuous circle of innovation and investment in which new uses of the network—including new content, applications, services, and devices— lead to increased end-user demand for broadband, which drives network improvements that in turn lead to further innovative network uses"

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