FCC Finally Defines Net Neutrality Rules

Published on 23 Sep 2011 at 7:10 pm.
Filed under Mobile.

After much debate the FCC has finally defined Net Neutrality rules. The FCC has summarized the rules as follows.

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 websites, 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.

I am particularly confused about the leeway given towards mobile broadband. The third point about unreasonable discrimination towards lawful network traffic does not apply to them. Off the top of my head I cannot think how this could happen, but why leave that hole open? And technically, can’t mobile broadband providers block services or applications?

I am a bit unclear on what the third point actually means. Does this mean that fixed broadband providers are prohibited from altering content prior to delivery. This is a very uncommon and has obvious trademark issues, but it has happened to Google.

As someone that has followed this issue very closely I am still very confused as to how people have been interpreting this as a “government takeover of the Internet”. The list above sounds to me like it should foster competition. I’m happy.

This post was originally published as FCC Finally Defines Net Neutrality Rules for The BrandBuilder Company.

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