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Official New FCC Net Neutrality Rules Published

Document of the day:

  • Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet; Final Rule Federal Register Vol. 80 Monday, No. 70 (April 13, 2015) Part II, Federal Communications Commission, 47 CFR Parts 1, 8, and 20. [Official PDF version at FDsys.]
    SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) establishes rules to protect and promote the open Internet. Specifically, the Open Internet Order adopts bright-line rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization; a rule preventing broadband providers from unreasonably interfering or disadvantaging consumers or edge providers from reaching one another on the Internet; and provides for enhanced transparency into network management practices, network performance, and commercial terms of broadband Internet access service. These rules apply to both fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services. The Order reclassifies broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service subject to Title II of the Communications Act. Finally, the Order forbears from the majority of Title II provisions, leaving in place a framework that will support regulatory action while simultaneously encouraging broadband investment, innovation, and deployment.

Other links:
80 FR 19737 – Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet (FDsys Record with links)
Text version at FDsys.
Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet Final Rule by the Federal Communications Commission on 04/13/2015 (HTML version at FederalRegister.gov).

Usage-Based Pricing of Internet Service

Document of the Day

U.S. Government Accountability Office. 2014. FCC Should Track the Application of Fixed Internet Usage-Based Pricing and Help Improve Consumer Education. Mark Goldstein, GAO–15–108: Published: Nov 24, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2014.

GAO found that mobile providers employ usage-based pricing (UBP) more commonly than fixed. Under UBP, providers can charge varying prices, change connection speeds, or take other actions based on Internet data consumed.

According to the literature, providers facing limited competition could use UBP to increase profits, potentially resulting in negative effects, including increased prices, reductions in content accessed, and increased threats to network security. Several researchers and stakeholders GAO interviewed said that UBP could reduce innovation for applications and content if consumers ration their data.

Because prices can vary based on usage, it may be important that consumers be informed about data. GAO found that some tools offered by fixed providers to educate consumers regarding data can be confusing. For example, some provider estimates vary on data consumed for the same type of content

While FCC is collecting data regarding fixed UBP, it is not using this data to track UBP use…. As a result, … it may not know if UBP is being used in a way that is contrary to the public interest and, if so, take appropriate actions.

GAO recommends FCC: (1) work with fixed providers to develop a voluntary code of conduct to improve consumer communication and (2) make use of existing data to track fixed Internet UBP and its effects on consumers nationwide. FCC said it will monitor complaints and provider plans to determine if a more proactive approach is needed. GAO continues to believe that better communication is warranted. FCC agreed to use existing data to analyze UBP issues.

FCC Rules: Preserving the Open Internet

The Federal Communications Commission has published its Final Rule on Preserving the Open Internet. Hat tip to Benton’s Communications-Related Headlines:

  • Preserving the Open Internet. AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Final rule. 47 CFR Parts 0 and 8 [GN Docket No. 09–191; WC Docket No. 07–52; FCC 10–201] 59192 Federal Register Vol. 76, No. 185/Friday, September 23, 2011, Rules and Regulations.

    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 are effective November 20, 2011.

Net Neutrality Rules Still Secret?

I have been looking for the new FCC rules on network neutrality at fcc.gov but haven’t found them yet. TechDirt reports that you’ll have to file a FOIA request to see them.

There is a news release on the FCC site, but the site is not very responsive this evening and some pages won’t load, including that one.

FCC Backs Net Neutrality Order

FCC Backs Net Neutrality Order, By Juliana Gruenwald, National Journal (December 21, 2010, 1:06 PM).

FCC passes first net neutrality rules, By Cecilia Kang, Washington Post (Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 12/21/2010).

The FCC tweet seems to be the only official word at the moment:

“Vote goes 3-2 in favor of the “ayes.” Chairman, Comms. Copps and Clyburn in favor; McDowell and Baker against. #oir