22 December 2010, U.S. – It’s a done deal. After more than a year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally voted 3-to-2 in favor of the Net Neutrality rules. Three high level rules have been laid down. While supporters Chairman Julius Genachowski, Democratic commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn are passionately in favor, Republican commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith A. Baker passionately disapprove of the outcome.
Without filtering any information and staying totally neutral, here are the rules:
Rule 1 – Transparency:
A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.
Rule 2 — No Blocking:
A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.
A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network
Rule 3 – No Unreasonable Discrimination:
A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service. Reasonable network management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination.
Now, what does all this mean? Since they’re not laws but rather guidelines, the FCC has to wait to see how Internet providers play it out. No one ones where this will go but the road to regulation has moved in. Like a little sugar pill, it will be swallowed… allowing progressively more regulation to pass with time.