I am going to borrow the summary of yesterday’s FCC decision to end Net Neutrality from the Benton Foundation…
In a Declartory Ruling and two Orders, the Federal Communications Commission reversed its 2015 Open Internet rules.
- Restores the classification of broadband Internet access service as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act.
- Reinstates the classification of mobile broadband Internet access service as a private mobile service.
- Finds that the regulatory uncertainty created by utility-style Title II regulation has reduced Internet service provider (ISP) investment in networks, as well as hampered innovation, particularly among small ISPs serving rural consumers.
- Finds that public policy, in addition to legal analysis, supports the information service classification, because it is more likely to encourage broadband investment and innovation, thereby furthering the goal of closing the digital divide and benefitting the entire Internet ecosystem.
- Restores broadband consumer protection authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), enabling it to apply its extensive expertise to provide uniform online protections against unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.
Report and Order
- Requires that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission, including any blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or affiliated prioritization.
- Finds that transparency, combined with market forces as well as antitrust and consumer protection laws, achieve benefits comparable to those of the 2015 “bright line” rules at lower cost.
- Eliminates the vague and expansive Internet Conduct Standard, under which the FCC could micromanage innovative business models. Order
- Finds that the public interest is not served by adding to the already-voluminous record in this proceeding additional materials, including confidential materials submitted in other proceedings.
I have seen messages from several broadband providers, noting that they plan to remain fair and transparent with their pricing and traffic management. I have seen messages saying now it the time for communities to take the lead on their access to broadband. Time will tell on both counts.