The Internet is a vital platform for innovation, economic growth and free expression in America. And yet, despite two prior FCC attempts, there are no rules on the books to prevent broadband providers from limiting Internet openness by blocking content or discriminating against consumers and entrepreneurs online. The “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) begins the process of closing that gap, which was created in January 2014 when the D.C. Circuit struck down key FCC Open Internet rules. The FCC public comment period on the Commission’s proposal was opened on May 15 – with 60 days (until July 15) to submit initial comments and another 57 days (until September 10) for reply comments.
The NPRM seeks comment on a number of questions designed to:
Develop the Strongest Legal Framework for Enforceable Rules of the Road
The D.C. Circuit in its January 2014 decision in Verizon v. FCC, upheld the FCC’s legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as well as the use of Title II of the Communications Act as the basis for legal authority. Open Internet rules under Section 706 would continue a lighter regulatory approach where Title II applies full common carrier regulations.
Ensure choices for consumers and opportunity for innovators
The NPRM proposes a requirement that all users must have access to fast and robust service:
- Broadband consumers must have access to the content, services and applications they desire.
- Innovators and edge providers must have access to end-users so they can offer new products and services.
Prevent practices that can threaten the Open Internet
- Asks if paid prioritization should be banned outright.
- Promises clear rules of the road and aggressive enforcement to prevent unfair treatment of consumers, edge providers and innovators.
- Includes a rebuttable presumption* that exclusive contracts that prioritize service to broadband affiliates are unlawful.
(*Rebuttable presumption is a presumption that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and proves otherwise)
The NPRM proposes to enhance the transparency rules to provide increased and specific information about broadband providers’ practices for edge providers and consumers.
Protect consumers, innovators and startups through new rules and effective enforcement
Consider the Impact on the Digital Divide: Ensuring access for all communities
Telecom One supports the FCC’s NPRM for speedy resolution of Open Internet Rules.