Talking tech since 2003

The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, laid out new several new proposals for network neutrality rules in a statement today, also saying that the agency won’t appeal a court decision that struck down the FCC’s previous attempt at rule-making.

The statement, which comes amid reports that Internet providers are slowing sites like Netflix, also said that while the FCC isn’t appealing the decision it would explore new ways to stop improper “blocking” and “discrimination” on the Internet.

The FCC’s decision to not appeal the ruling isn’t necessarily surprising considering the fact the court’s ruling was legally sound.  If anyone is to blame for the ruling it’s the FCC which essentially botched the way it constructed the rules without receiving the proper authority.  But now that the FCC has caused alarm for Internet users, Wheeler has outlined how he plans to resolve the problem and put net neutrality back in place.

In the statement Wheeler writes:

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 […] Thus, we will consider (1) setting an enforceable legal standard that provides guidance and predictability to edge providers, consumers, and broadband providers alike; (2) evaluating on a case-by-case basis whether that standard is met; and (3) identifying key behaviors by broadband providers that the Commission would view with particular skepticism.

While that all sounds great, I imagine it may prove to be [slightly] difficult to get these new rules “up and running.” Not to mention, I’m sure many Internet providers will be fighting tooth and nail along the way to any proposed rules.

That being said, Comcast is under court order to maintain compliance with the pre-existing net neutrality until 2018 (because of it was part of the agreement made when it acquired NBCUniversal).  And if the Time Warner Cable deal goes through, I would hope the rules would extend to those customers as well, which would give the FCC the much needed time to draft and get the new rules into place.


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