Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FCC Passes Net Neutrality Order, Unclear What it Means

The Federal Communications Communication has voted to approve new net neutrality regulations on a three-to-two vote. As nearly as we can tell, the new rules, which will face court challenge and possible contrary instructions from the U.S. Congress, mandates network management transparency, and simply codifies existing rules protecting a consumer's right to use lawful applications.

The actual language of the order is not available yet, and much remains to be understood. Some would characterize the general thrust of the rules as forbidding some forms of "priority access" to sites and applications.

The rules appear to apply to both fixed and mobile networks, though only "unreasonable discrimination" is prohibited.

The rules appear to be less affected than fixed networks are, though the language used is broad enough that the actual details will have to be filled in by actual enforcement actions later, taken on a case-by-case basis. It appears we will have to wait not only for the actual written order, but for the legal challenges, case-by-case complaints to the FCC and then possible Congressional direction, one way or the other.

In short, it isn't entirely clear what has changed, here, and how big the impact might be.

Read more: http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/12/21/fcc.approves.net.neturality.rules.despite.gop/#ixzz18ltQVSRl

As expected, many who had argued for more-rigorous rules are disappointed. See http://www.freepress.net/press-release/2010/12/21/free-press-fcc-net-neutrality-order-%E2%80%98squandered-opportunity%E2%80%99 for example.

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