FCC Approves Controversial Net Neutrality Rules


On December 21, 2010, the FCC approved controversial net neutrality rules in a party-line vote. Democratic Commissioners Copps and Clyburn joined Chairman Genachowski in approving the Order, despite concerns that it did not go far enough.

Republican Commissioners McDowell and Baker wrote lengthy dissents, arguing that the FCC had stepped far beyond its regulatory authority in approving Internet regulations.

According to the Order, the rules can be summarized as achieving three main objectives: (i) transparency; (ii) no blocking; and (iii) no unreasonable discrimination. More specifically, "fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services." Additionally, "[f]ixed 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." Finally, "[f]ixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic."

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