AfterDawn: Tech news

Controversial FCC net neutrality rules to take effect in November

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 26 Sep 2011 12:51 User comments (18)

Controversial FCC net neutrality rules to take effect in November New FCC net neutrality rules for US broadband providers are set to go into effect on November 20. The rules were drafted last year, but have been on hold pending an official announcement of adoption by the agency.
In practical terms, there are two rules and an exception which renders their actual effect less than clear. The first rule mandates transparency with regard to network management practices:

Transparency. Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services


A second provision forbids the blocking of lawful Internet traffic:

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




In other words, if an ISP has a policy of prioritizing, or even blocking, traffic based on anything from a subscriber's usage to the protocol being used, they must make that information available to customers.

This does not actually forbid practices like throttling P2P traffic. It merely sets a requirement that such policies be transparent and not anticompetitive.

However, a third rule outlined in the new policy seems to soften the impact of both provisions:

No unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic


The question then becomes what qualifies as "unreasonable discrimination." That's where the political nature of the FCC becomes an issue.

Since FCC Commissioners are political appointees, with chairmanship of the commission determined by the president, enforcement of various rules varies over time, and sometimes even from one company or industry to another.

Many people, particularly those running broadband providers, also question the FCC's authority in regulating network management of ISPs. That authority is being challenged in court already.

Because such challenges had to wait for the FCC to formally announce the adoption of the new rules, the courts have not had a chance to weigh in on the issue yet. In fact, it's entirely possible a federal court could block the rules from taking effect until they reach a decision.

This is exactly what happened with the FCC's Broadcast Flag rule several years ago. In that case, the courts threw out the rule after finding the FCC had overstepped their regulatory authority.

In this case the agency's authority seems to be clearer.

Previously the FCC classified Internet access as merely an information service, rather than a telecommunications service, which limited their power to make rules regarding how providers manage their networks.



Last year the FCC modified their stance, essentially saying they would begin regulating the Internet access component of broadband Internet service separately from the provider specific services bundled with it. Somewhat ironically, in support of their new position, they cite a 2005 Supreme Court decision in which their old classification was upheld.

In National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services, the court ruled the FCC has the authority to decide what level of regulation of broadband Internet service is appropriate.

While the decision was not unanimous, the dissenting opinion actually supports the FCC's current position that the connection component may be regulated as a separate telecommunications service. In fact, it argues the FCC is compelled to do so.

A more serious challenge to FCC authority in the matter is a bill introduced in The House Of Representatives early this year which has the support of at least 82 House members.

It faces an uphill battle right now, given the presidential support implied in the FCC's policy announcement, but depending on the makeup of the House and Senate following next year's elections, that could change. So, too, could FCC policy, based on the winner of the presidential election.

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18 user comments

126.9.2011 20:28

Goodbye Freedom.. It was fun while it lasted.

226.9.2011 21:44

There hasn't been freedom since 09/11/01.
Welcome to 1984.
Jeff

327.9.2011 05:19

Edit:Wrong Thread

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Sep 2011 @ 4:54

427.9.2011 16:12

Originally posted by Jeffrey_P:
There hasn't been freedom since 09/11/01.
Welcome to 1984.
Jeff
Truth ^^

How absurd.

529.9.2011 16:44

Bobiroc - Please explain how net neutrality affects your freedom.

DXR88 - What does protection from bandwidth throttling have to do with anon proxies?

I'm immediately tossing out anyone's argument if they reference the Fairness Doctrine and/or Glen Beck.

629.9.2011 16:53

Originally posted by IguanaC64:
Bobiroc - Please explain how net neutrality affects your freedom.

DXR88 - What does protection from bandwidth throttling have to do with anon proxies?

I'm immediately tossing out anyone's argument if they reference the Fairness Doctrine and/or Glen Beck.
Oops....well in that case i'm referencing ...Glen Beck because the fairness doctrine just sounds stupids.


729.9.2011 16:57

Net Neutrality has zero to do with the Fairness Doctrine.

I agree that the Fairness Doctrine is stupid. Most people arguing that Net Neutrality = Fairness Doctrine have zero understanding of what Net Neutrality is and usually only learned of it because they listen to Glen Beck.

829.9.2011 17:08

Originally posted by IguanaC64:
Bobiroc - Please explain how net neutrality affects your freedom.

DXR88 - What does protection from bandwidth throttling have to do with anon proxies?

I'm immediately tossing out anyone's argument if they reference the Fairness Doctrine and/or Glen Beck.
Just like with most political things, what they're saying goes directly against what they will do. They say "net neutrality," but they mean "net censorship." They'll give equal bandwidth alright, but not equally to all the net. Coupled with the ACTA it really is the end of the first and fourth amendments if they go through. As if we still had them in any way but misled thought >.>

929.9.2011 17:17

Glen Beck?
Please, the man is a nutcase who thinks he is Christs second coming.

Where is my chalkboard?

I like a little humor with the rhetoric Fox news and political types spew.

John Stewart and Stephen Colbert at lest keep a smile on my face.
The shows zero out libs and conservatives.

Jeff

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Sep 2011 @ 5:17

1029.9.2011 17:25

What you're suggesting will happen with or without Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality...BY ITSELF...doesn't make it any easier or more difficult to cut us off from torrent sites or news sites. What it does for *MOST* people is keep Time Warner (the ISP and video on demand provider) from throttling other video on demand services to their customers. It keeps AT&T from throttling other competing VOIP services to their customers. It keeps Time Warner the ISP from throttling bandwidth to competing news providers such as Fox News Online. Lastly, it keeps ISPs from being able to throttle your bittorrent because it makes ISPs treat your bittorrent packet no differently than any other packet.

ACTA is a gross overreaction to counterfeit goods and multimedia pirating, a huge overreach of government power, and a huge sellout to big business/big media. ACTA is ripe for abuse by big media and should be shot down. Unfortunately, Democrats don't have a real dog in this race to make this a big issue to fight against and Republicans are going to be torn between supporting big business vs lazy, worthless pirates (who probably collect welfare!) and their stated antipathy towards giving our sovereign rights away to international organizations (I personally think capitalism will win out and Republicans won't care).

1129.9.2011 17:43

http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.c..._internet_users

Lol, check it. They're excluding wireless carriers from the very rules you're talking about.

Done correctly, net neutrality would be beautiful. But it won't be done correctly...

Regardless, it's all sh*t put forth by sh*tty people for sh*tty purposes in sh*tty times of a sh*t country full of sh*t spewing sh*t heads. There is no way this will turn out to be good for masses, it never is.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Sep 2011 @ 5:51

1229.9.2011 17:49

Originally posted by Jeffrey_P:
Glen Beck?
Please, the man is a nutcase who thinks he is Christs second coming.

Where is my chalkboard?

I like a little humor with the rhetoric Fox news and political types spew.

John Stewart and Stephen Colbert at lest keep a smile on my face.
The shows zero out libs and conservatives.

Jeff
ill take my nuts over my stupids anyday.

1329.9.2011 18:20

Is that some new kind of alcoholic beverage?

Only people from the bible belt or the deep south say such things.

To each his/her own

Maybe Afterdawn should add a political forum.

Jeff

1430.9.2011 08:30

Originally posted by Jeffrey_P:
Is that some new kind of alcoholic beverage?

Only people from the bible belt or the deep south say such things.

To each his/her own

Maybe Afterdawn should add a political forum.

Jeff
Lol, I'm in the deep south of the Bible Belt ^.^ And that would be pretty interesting huh. That does sound funny, because those two are anything but "stupids," they give structure and forethought to their deliverance and reach a wide audience through the use of humor while still getting the important ideas across, which I think is exactly what most news is missing; I mean look at some of the stuff the people who "lead" us do and say and try to put into law, it's hilarious though in usually a depressing manner. And I will affirm Glen Beck being a nut, but he's much more stupid than I'm even willing to go in to, constant (and nonsensical, incorrect) Nazi references, and the whole gold scam. I can't hear a single sentence of that man's that doesn't cause me to instantly feel duller in the head.

1530.9.2011 11:54

Beck and some Vicks Vapor Rub. Brings a tear to my eyes.

1630.9.2011 12:25

"Lol, I'm in the deep south of the Bible Belt ^.^ And that would be pretty interesting huh. That does sound funny, because those two are anything but "stupids," they give structure and forethought to their deliverance and reach a wide audience through the use of humor while still getting the important ideas across, which I think is exactly what most news is missing; I mean look at some of the stuff the people who "lead" us do and say and try to put into law, it's hilarious though in usually a depressing manner. And I will affirm Glen Beck being a nut, but he's much more stupid than I'm even willing to go in to, constant (and nonsensical, incorrect) Nazi references, and the whole gold scam. I can't hear a single sentence of that man's that doesn't cause me to instantly feel duller in the head."

I have to admit, Beck is interesting to watch. Some people take his ranting as gospel.
It Show how diverse the country I love is.

Love it or leave it! Guess things would be fairly ho-hum if there wasn't some controversy.

With the way things are today a little bit of humor doesn't hurt.
Jeff

1730.9.2011 17:21

Originally posted by Jeffrey_P:
With the way things are today a little bit of humor doesn't hurt.
Jeff
That's how I feel. But Beck and them also just seem counter-productive. However, I suppose a lot of things in life are, "different strokes" and all.

183.10.2011 10:55

@Buxtahuda - I agree that wireless shouldn't get preferential treatment in this, but "Net Neutrality" shouldn't just get dumped because of this holdout. It's possible to do this in steps...prove that the Internet isn't going to implode because of Net Neutrality and then require the wireless providers to get on board.

My original concern with this thread when people start talking about "their freedom getting taken away" because of Net Neutrality is that people are listening to pundits who honestly have NFC what the conversation is about. The wireless exemption has no bearing on this particular point.

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