Washington - Sep 1, 2010 - To promote innovation, investment, competition, and free expression, and to protect and empower consumers, in late 2009 the Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet. The NPRM seeks public comment on rules that would codify the Internet Policy Statement's four principles and strengthen them by prohibiting broadband Internet access providers from treating lawful traffic in a discriminatory manner, and by requiring providers to be transparent regarding their network management practices.
The discussion generated by the Commission's Open Internet proceeding appears to have narrowed disagreement on many of the key elements of the framework proposed in the NPRM: First, that broadband providers should not prevent users from sending and receiving the lawful content of their choice, using the lawful applications and services of their choice, and connecting the nonharmful devices of their choice to the network, at least on fixed or wireline broadband platforms. Second, that broadband providers should be transparent regarding their network management practices. Third, that with respect to the handling of lawful traffic, some form of anti-discrimination protection is appropriate, at least on fixed or wireline broadband platforms. Fourth, that broadband providers must be able to reasonably manage their networks, including through appropriate and tailored mechanisms that reduce the effects of congestion or address traffic that is unwanted by users or harmful to the network. Fifth, that in light of rapid technological and market change, enforcing high-level rules of the road through case-by-case adjudication, informed by engineering expertise, is a better policy approach than promulgating detailed, prescriptive rules that may have consequences that are difficult to foresee.
The FCC seeks input on two issues: The relationship between open Internet protections and services that are provided over the same last-mile facilities as broadband Internet access service (commonly called "managed" or "specialized" services), and the application of open Internet rules to mobile wireless Internet access services, which have unique characteristics related to technology, associated application and device markets, and consumer usage.
DA 10-1667, GN Docket No. 09-191, WC Docket No. 07-52
Comment Date: 30 days after publication in the Federal Register
Reply Comment Date: 55 days after publication in the Federal Register