FCC Open Internet (aka Net Neutrality report): a little like free jazz, lots to interpret

free jazzI started reading the 400-page FCC Open Internet (aka Net Neutrality report) while I listened to some experimental jazz at a local Afghani restaurant last week – just to paint a funny picture for you. It seemed fitting as the report is a little like free jazz – some repetition, a lot of it sounds like noise if it’s new to you, but real fans will know how to understand (and use) the nuances.

And I think there’s a lot left open to interpretation.

I won’t dive in too deep as there are others who are more qualified – mostly I realized that there are a huge number of exceptions and exemptions. Small providers are exempt from transparency rules – but small providers include anyone serving fewer than 100,000 customers. Special services are exempted but not really defined – it include VOIP and heart monitoring. It’s these areas and other where the interpretation will happen. I remain cautiously optimistic but there are so many things that will be decided in the courts, on a case by case basis or as precedent builds. It’s difficult to know how things will shake out.

The FCC recently posted a cheat sheet of sorts that tries to separate fact from fiction; I thought this was helpful too – maybe it’s helpful in seeing who they want to placate…

The Open Internet Order uses every tool in the Federal Communication Commission’s toolbox to make sure the Internet stays fair, fast and open for all Americans, while ensuring investment and innovation can flourish. We encourage the public to read the Order, which reflects the input of millions of Americans and allows everyone to separate myths from fact, such as:
Myth: This is utility-style regulation.
Fact: The Order takes a modernized approach to Title II, tailored for the 21st Century.
Myth: The FCC plans to set broadband rates and regulate retail prices in response to consumer complaints.
Fact: The Order doesn’t regulate retail broadband rates.
Myth: This will increase consumers’ broadband bills and/or raise taxes.
Fact: The Order doesn’t impose new taxes or fees or otherwise increase prices.
Myth: This is a plan to regulate the Internet and let the government take over the Internet.
Fact: The Order doesn’t regulate Internet content, applications or services or how the Internet operates, its routing or its addressing.
Myth: This proposal means the FCC will get to decide which service plan you can choose.
Fact: The Order doesn’t limit consumers’ choices or ban broadband data plans.
Myth: This will embolden authoritarian states to tighten their grip on the Internet.
Fact: The Open Internet rules ensure the Internet continues to be a powerful platform for free expression, innovation and economic growth.
Myth: This will stifle innovation in new areas of Internet connectivity like connected cars or tele-health.
Fact: The Order doesn’t regulate the class of IP-based services that do not connect to the public Internet.
Myth: This will lead to slower broadband speeds and reduced investment in broadband deployment.
Fact: The Order doesn’t reduce broadband investment or slow broadband speeds.
Myth: The new transparency rules add up to a new form of regulation.
Fact: Clear disclosure requirements benefit both consumers and industry.
Myth: The general conduct standard will chill innovation.
Fact: This is not new ground. The Commission also adopted a general conduct standard in 2010 and investment flourished.

This entry was posted in Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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