FCC will establish new net neutrality rules in light of court decision

The agency also has decided it will not ask for further judicial review of the matter

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will not seek further judicial review of a January court ruling that struck down the agency's net neutrality regulations, but it does plan to issue a new set of rules covering ISPs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the FCC lacks the authority to prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic.

The FCC will use the agency's existing authority to regulate broadband providers, establishing "new rules of the road" to prevent ISPs from charging some companies more for network access, the agency said Wednesday in a media briefing, which was followed by the release of a statement from agency Commissioner Tom Wheeler.

The appeals court "invited the Commission to act to preserve a free and open Internet," the statement said. "I intend to accept that invitation by proposing rules that will meet the court's test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among Internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how Internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition."

In its ruling, the court affirmed that the FCC has authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to "encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court, recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called 'edge providers,' those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the Internet," the statement said.

The FCC in 2010 adopted the Open Internet Order, which prohibited ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for network access. Verizon challenged the order and prevailed in the appeals court decision. The company and other ISPs are now able, because of the ruling, to charge more to content providers, such as video streaming services, whose users consume large quantities of data. ISPs have long held that they should have the right to offer such tiered service so that content-heavy sites would have to pay more for network access.

While the court largely overruled the Open Internet Order it also ruled that the FCC has "general authority" to regulate how broadband providers deal with network traffic under Section 706.

"Recently in Los Angeles, I talked to start-up entrepreneurs who produce video to meet consumers' growing desire for programming," Wheeler's statement said. "Their companies may succeed or they may fail depending on whether they are truly creative and innovative. But they and other innovators cannot be judged on their own merits if they are unfairly prevented from harnessing the full power of the Internet, which would harm the virtuous cycle of innovation that has benefitted consumers, edge providers, and broadband networks. This is why the FCC's exercise of its authority to protect an open Internet is important."

In the broad plan announced Wednesday the FCC will:

-- Propose new rules to "enforce and enhance the transparency rule," requiring network operators to disclose how they manage traffic.

-- Fulfill the "no blocking" goal by considering how, "consistent with the court opinion," the agency can make sure that edge providers are not "unfairly blocked, explicitly or implicitly, from reaching consumers, as well as ensuring that consumers can continue to access any lawful content and services they choose.

-- Consider how Section 706 can be used to "protect and promote" an open Internet that falls in line with the appeals court decision and its previous affirmation of the agency's order on data roaming. The FCC will consider establishing an enforceable legal standard to give guidance to edge providers, users and broadband providers, and will evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether the standard is being met. It also will seek to identify "key behaviors by broadband providers that the Commission would view with particular skepticism."

-- Maintain authority that provides the ability to reclassify Internet access as a telecommunications service under a provision of the Communications Act.

-- Solicit public comment, by opening a docket called "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet."

-- Hold ISPs to their commitment to maintain an open Internet.

-- Look for ways to enhance competition for Internet access.

The new rules will be proposed by late spring or early summer, but the comment period has already been opened so that input can be gathered as the rules are being considered, the FCC said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationinternettelecommunicationInternet service providersU.S. Federal Communication Commission

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Weil

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?