INTERNET

FCC Releases Net Neutrality Rules In 400-Page Document

Mar 12, 2015 at 11:39 AM ET

Two weeks ago, the FCC voted to protect net neutrality and guarantee an “open Internet.” Today, they’ve released the actual rulebook: a 400-page mega-document that guides big telecommunication companies (in excruciating legal detail) on how, exactly, those telcos can treat the content that flows through their cables.

As predicted, there are no real surprises in the document. Ultimately, the document enforces the idea that high-speed Internet is a service for the public’s good, and though controlled by private companies, the provisions are intended to “further the public interest in an open Internet.” Specifically, according to the FCC, that means:

  • “No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.”

Before you fire up your Netflix account in celebration, it’s worth noting that all the big cable companies will probably challenge the FCC’s rulebook, arguing that the new regulations are overbearing and unfair.