Origins of Free and Open Internet
Google has warned that a forthcoming UN-organised conference threatens the "free and open internet".
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:02
21 November 2012Last updated at 09:49 ET Google has warned that a forthcoming UN-organised conference threatens the "free and open internet".
Government representatives are set to agree a new information and communications treaty in December.
It has been claimed some countries will try to wrest oversight of the net's technical specifications and domain name system from US bodies to an international organisation.
However, the UN has said there would be consensus before any change was agreed.
Google has asked web users to add their name to an online petition to support its view.
"The [UN agency] International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is bringing together regulators from around the world to renegotiate a decades-old communications treaty," it wrote on its Take Action site.
"Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech - or even allow them to cut off internet access.
"Other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information - particularly in emerging markets."
Google added that it was concerned that "only governments have a voice at the ITU" and not companies or others who had a stake in the net, concluding that the World Conference on International Telecommunications (Wcit) was "the wrong place" to make decisions about the internet's future.
However, the ITU has said that each country could invite whoever it likes to be part of its delegation at the meeting.
Leaked documentsThe ITU has said a new treaty was needed to ensure "the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth".
It added that the growth of the internet and adoption of mobile phones meant the existing agreement - signed in 1998 - needed to be updated.
The agency is not openly publishing each government's proposals ahead of the conference, however a site called Wcitleaks, run by researchers at George Mason University, has revealed some of the details.
Most recently these included a proposal from Russia suggesting that the US should have less control over the internet's operation.
"Member states shall have equal rights to manage the internet, including in regard to the allotment, assignment and reclamation of internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources and to support for the operation and development of basic internet infrastructure," it said in a document submitted on 17 November.
This would mark a shift from the current set-up in which such matters are looked after by non-profit bodies which are officially under the remit of the US Department of Commerce, but in effect operate at arm's length from the US government.
The Russia Today news service had previously reported that China and India backed the Kremlin's view that the ITU could take over these functions.
However, the US's ambassador to the conference, Terry Kramer, has already signalled he would not support this saying the existing institutions had "functioned effectively and will continue to ensure the health and growth of the internet".
Tolled trafficParts of the US tech industry have also been concerned by remarks by the ITU's secretary general, Dr Hamadoun Toure, that the meeting should "address the current disconnect between sources of revenue and sources of costs, and to decide upon the most appropriate way to do so".
Dr Toure said that the new treaty should be designed to help encourage broadband rollout and investment, later adding that telecom companies had the "right to a return on [the] investment" needed to avoid congestion.
But Google is not alone in fearing some countries will suggest the best way to do this will be to introduce "tolls" in which popular sites have to pay developing nations money if they send a lot of traffic through their data networks.
"Many countries are used to getting revenue from telephone calls, and those telephone calls have gone away in favour of various internet-based video services which don't produce revenue for them," Gary Shapiro, president of the US's Consumer Electronics Association, told the BBC.
"So they are looking to recover it and they are trying to put a charge on incoming internet access. So if you have a website which is very popular worldwide you would have to pay to get access to them - we think that is wrong.
"We think the value of the internet is that it is available to everyone for free without international barriers."
Unanimous decisionsThe ITU is hosting the conference to draw up the treaty between 3 to 14 December in Dubai.
Dr Toure has signalled that if there were any serious disagreements he would try to avoid putting an issue to a majority vote.
"We never vote because voting means winners and losers and you can't afford that," he told the BBC in July.
"Whatever one single country does not accept will not pass."
But experts warn this poses a risk that participants leave some issues unresolved.
"In the worst case there's a danger you could see a splintering of the internet," said Prof Alan Woodward, from the department of computing, University of Surrey.
"Some countries including Russia already restrict which sites can be accessed, but if people start going off and doing their own things in term of naming conventions and net addresses you could end up with different parts of the internet being unable to send traffic to each other.
"It would be the online equivalent of not being able to make a telephone call from one nation to another."
free and open internet eric schmidt - Google Search
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:03
free and open internet eric scmidt - Google SearchScreen reader users, click here to turn off Google Instant.
here if you are not redirected within a few seconds.
Google Instant is unavailable. Press Enter to search.
Learn moreGoogle Instant is off due to connection speed. Press Enter to search.
Press Enter to search.
LanguagesTurn on SafeSearch
About 1,450,000 results (0.57 seconds)
Google executives lead by Eric Schmidt visit Cuba for first ...m.tech.firstpost.com/.../google-executives-lead-by-eric-schmidt-visit-cub...The Google team, led by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, met with Cuban ... A team of top Google executives is visiting Cuba to promote open Internet ... Google is on an official two-day visit ''to promote the virtues of a free and open Internet,'' ...Eric Schmidt - Google+https://plus.google.com/+EricSchmidt/posts/X8UXDYZEwduJun 29, 2014 - With the goal of promoting a free and open Internet, Jared Cohen and I and two others traveled to Havana on a business visa (more on that ...Google's Eric Schmidt allegedly visits Cuba to advocate ...www.caribbean-events.com/.../googles-eric-schmidt-allegedly-visits-cuba...Google's Eric Schmidt allegedly visits Cuba to advocate for open internet ... with Cuban technology officials to promote the benefits of a free and open Internet.Google's Eric Schmidt calls for open Internet in North Korea ...www.cbsnews.com/.../googles-eric-schmidt-calls-for-open-inte...Jan 9, 2013 - Google's Eric Schmidt calls for open Internet in North Korea. Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, back row left, and former .... Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Net neutrality secrecy: No one knows what the FCC approved (BUT Google has a good idea) ' The Register
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:47
Analysis US watchdog the FCC formally approved new net neutrality rules on Thursday for America. But you're out of luck if you want to know exactly how your access to the internet will be now be governed.
Despite getting the green light, the exact rules have not been revealed and will remain a mystery for some unspecified length of time.
"We will publish the order on our website as soon as next two steps are completed," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler when quizzed after the vote.
"First, we have to get the dissents in, and second have to look at those dissents '' and we are required to be responsive to the dissents. Then we will put it on the web. And at that point also file it with the Federal Register." He refused to give a timeframe for that process.
Nor did the FCC's general counsel Jonathan Sallet. "This is not a 'secret plan'," he responded to one reporter who asked again why the FCC was making decisions on unpublished documents. "It's part of a process." He also referenced a judgment by a Washington DC court that the FCC was obliged to respond to dissents put forward by commissioners '' namely, the two Republican commissioners who voted against Wheeler's secret plans.
But, of course, that court decision does not preclude the FCC chairman from publishing the documents as they stand now. In fact, it is entirely within his power, and Wheeler could also have shown us the regulations when they were provided to the FCC's commissioners for the first time three weeks ago.
DeniedIn fact, the chairs of both Congressional committees that deal with telecoms issues requested that the rules be put out for public review, as did two of Wheeler's four commissioners, who complained they wanted to publish the documents but were barred from doing so.
Pushed on the topic of publication a third time, Wheeler called the rules a "work in progress." "Why do we not release a rough draft? Because it's a rough draft; it's a work in progress. There's no difference in the result, just the way in which to go about it," he said.
That is seemingly true, with the report suddenly dropping 15 pages to 317 pages following a last-minute letter from Google.
Dissenting commissioner Ajit Pai complained that he could only refer to page counts when discussing changes made to the proposals during their development: "This again illustrates the absurdity of how much I can reveal without violating the rule against sharing non-public information.
"I will say what has been publicly reported is that in response to a last minute submission from a major California based company, an entire core part of the document was removed with respect to broadband subscriber access service."
Pai and fellow commissioner Michael O'Rielly also revealed that there had been a number of revised versions in the past 12 to 24 hours as changes were made all the way up to the vote.
It gets worseBut that's not all. Both commissioners expect changes to be made to the document after it has been formally approved by them, with the "OGC" '' office of general counsel '' given extraordinary leeway to edit and revise the rules even following formal approval.
That is problematic because "most of the specifics haven't been addressed. They're very vague. Intentionally vague," said O'Rielly. His criticisms appeared to be confirmed when reporters, who repeatedly asked for specifics on the plan from chairman Wheeler and general counsel Sallet, were told repeatedly that those details had not been decided yet.
It is likely that Sallet will start adding new text between now and when the rules are finally sent to the Federal Registry. And no one will know what has changed, with commissioner Pai and O'Rielly pointing out that they will have to keep a constant eye on the documents to see what has been tweaked.
"It will be interesting to see how you figure out how you can write stories about what has just been approved when you aren't allowed to see the details," Pai told reporters after the vote.
Same oldIncredibly, this is not anything new. An academic study of FCC documents going all the way back to 1934 dug into its baffling habit of delaying the publication of official orders long after they had been approved.
Published earlier this month and titled "Administrative Procedures, Bureaucracy, and Transparency: Why Does the FCC Vote on Secret Texts?" [PDF], the report's author Scott Wallsten found that dawdling between approval and publication had actually become the norm at the FCC.
"More controversial orders yield more dissent and longer delays," Wallsten notes, "implying either that commissioners engage in substantive negotiating following a vote or that the commission pays extra attention to the details of an order the more likely the commissioners believe it will be challenged in court."
The secrecy surrounding the net neutrality regulations is something Commissioner O'Rielly has been complaining about for some time, repeatedly pushing within the FCC for documents to be published ahead of meetings, but each time pushed back by the FCC's staff.
DeniedBack in August, O'Rielly, a new commissioner, argued that the rules that forbid publication of documents before a vote were leading to "routine confusion" and were a barrier that "can be extremely frustrating for all involved."
"At the very moment that I learn the particulars of an important rule-making upon which I will spend the next few weeks in ex parte meetings listening to stakeholder concerns, I am not permitted to disclose any details of the draft text in order to extract more thoughtful responses," he noted.
In other words, he has to hold meetings to discuss upcoming rules but isn't allowed to tell anyone what is actually in the paperwork being discussed.
O'Rielly sought to change that situation and despite getting what he claimed was positive feedback, the commission's staff found procedural objections to making the documents available.
In a second post last month, O'Rielly noted: "The reason that nothing has happened, I am told, is that there are two basic concerns with the proposal: 1) that it could be harder to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and 2) that it could be more difficult to withhold documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I do not find either argument persuasive or insurmountable."
He then went into some detail as to why he doesn't feel either legislation should block the provision of information and why he feels the current situation is unworkable.
And againO'Rielly raised the issue again today after reporters pressed on why no one was allowed to see the net neutrality rules that had just been approved: "I've made a larger push that we make all items that are circulated - that are made available for open meetings - publicly available. We can put them on our website'... I've highlighted the arguments that people respond to me with'... the truth of the matter is, it's a resource management issue, and under the current rules, the chairman has the right to make those documents available if he so chooses. Here, he chose not to, and I suspect he's going to continue that course of action."
It's unclear whether Wheeler and the FCC's staff recognize the irony that while extending their reach over broadband access in order to protect a free and open internet they are at the same time running processes that go against the very ethos of the network they claim to be protecting.
Pai felt that this was one situation where the chairman's ability to forego secrecy should have been applied: "I would argue that if ever there a reason to depart from that practice, I would argue this is it. It's own proponents say this is unprecedented action. The American people should be able to see what is being decided."
Wheeler did allude to the impact that the spotlight of public attention had had on the FCC. "Let me start the process towards that vote," he noted as he opened his remarks, "by thanking the nearly four million people who participated in this proceeding. You told us you were concerned about the future of the internet, and your participation has made this the most open proceeding in FCC history. Not all of you agreed with each other and not all of you agreed with the action that we are going to take today. But you made our process, and thus our decision, stronger. We listened and we learned."
What Pai and O'Rielly would no doubt argue is that while Wheeler and the FCC's staff may have listened to those in favor of their rules, the dissenting voices '' including those arguing that the FCC needs to bring itself into the modern internet era '' have so far received much less of a hearing. ®
Sponsored:New Forrester Research: More attacks on keys and certificates
Google reverses decision to ban adult content on Blogger | The Verge
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:59
Google has reversed its decision to ban sexually explicit content on Blogger, according to a post on the company's product forums by Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio. Users of the blogging platform were told earlier this week that Google would no longer allow "graphic nude images or video" on the site from March 23rd. However, Pelegio's post states that this is no longer the case, with Google deciding the ban would've had a "negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities."
The ban would have affected accounts that have been running for "10+ years."
"Rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn," writes Pelegio. She says the users submitted a "ton of feedback" after the announcement, particularly regarding the retroactive enforcement of the new policy, which would have affected accounts that have been running for "10+ years." Pelegio adds that as before, "blog owners should continue to mark any blogs containing sexually explicit content as 'adult' so that they can be placed behind an 'adult content' warning page."
Telecom industry slams FCC net neutrality move | Fox News
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:54
The FCC ogo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington Feb. 26, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
The telecom industry on Thursday slammed the The Federal Communications Commission's adoption of sweeping new Internet regulations, warning that the rules are a "radical step" that spells bad news for consumers and the economy.
Following a contentious meeting, the commission voted 3-2 to adopt its so-called net neutrality plan. The new regulations, which aim to bar service providers from creating paid Internet ''fast lanes,'' were sought by President Obama. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the plan would ensure an "open, unfettered network."
However, major telecom industry players were scathing in their reaction to the vote, which looks set to be challenged in the courts.
''FCC's 'Throwback Thursday' Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet,'' wrote Verizon, in a blog post. To illustrate its point, the company wrote its statement in Morse code, but added a link to a translated version for ''readers in the 21st century.''
Further emphasizing Verizon's displeasure, the translation uses a smudged, inky, typewriter-style typeface.
''Today's decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors,'' said Michael Glover, Verizon senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, in the statement. ''It is likely that history will judge today's actions as misguided,'' he added.
The CTIA, which represents the wireless industry, described the FCC's decision as ''disappointing and unnecessary.''
''Consumers across the U.S. have '' and will always have '' access to an open mobile Internet,'' it said. ''By ignoring the fundamental differences in wireless networks and disregarding the intense competition throughout the mobile ecosystem, the FCC abandoned a long-standing policy framework responsible for fostering America's world-leading wireless industry.''
The CTIA also questioned the legality of the FCC's move.
''The agency's action runs counter to an express Congressional directive prohibiting the agency from treating mobile broadband like a utility service, making today's decision not only unwise, but unlawful,'' it said. ''The economic and legal uncertainty that will inevitably follow from the FCC's unilateral action underscores the importance of, and urgent need for, bipartisan Congressional action that can end the net neutrality debate and allow our country's mobile ecosystem to focus on what it does best '' innovating, investing and empowering Americans' mobile connected lives."
The new rules would put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone by classifying it like a public utility.
Net neutrality is the idea that websites or videos load at about the same speed. That means you won't be more inclined to watch a particular show on Amazon Prime instead of on Netflix because Amazon has struck a deal with your service provider to load its data faster.
For years, providers mostly agreed not to pick winners and losers among Web traffic because they didn't want to encourage regulators to step in and because they said consumers demanded it. But that started to change around 2005, when YouTube came online and Netflix became increasingly popular. On-demand video began hogging bandwidth, and evidence surfaced that some providers were manipulating traffic without telling consumers.
By 2010, the FCC enacted open Internet rules, but the agency's legal approach was eventually struck down in the courts. The vote Thursday was intended by Wheeler to erase any legal ambiguity by no longer classifying the Internet as an "information service" but a "telecommunications service" subject Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.
That would dramatically expand regulators' power over the industry and hold broadband providers to the higher standard of operating in the public interest.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), which represents the manufacturers and suppliers of communications networks, also expressed its dismay at the FCC's decision.
''We share the goal of an open Internet, but Title II regulation is unnecessary and will harm consumers and the economy more than it will help,'' it said, in a statement. ''A light regulatory approach has resulted in nearly two decades of remarkable technology progress and increasing speeds, access and choice.''
The TIA also noted that private sector investment has led to a 250 percent increase in connection speeds since 2010 '' jumping from 4.6 Mbps to 11.4 Mbps.
''We are confident that Title II regulation will be rejected as Congress, the courts and consumers fully understand how it will hold back investment, innovation and growth,'' the TIA added. ''While we support the coming legal challenges, our plan is to work with Congress to find a reasonable, balanced approach to an open Internet.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
FCC Adopts Strong, Sustainable Rules to Protect the Open Internet | FCC.gov
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:41
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
February 26, 2015
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
FCC ADOPTS STRONG, SUSTAINABLE RULES TO PROTECT THE OPEN INTERNET
Rules Will Preserve the Internet as a Platform for Innovation, Free Expression and Economic Growth
Washington, D.C. '' Ending lingering uncertainty about the future of the Open Internet, the Federal
Communications Commission today set sustainable rules of the roads that will protect free expression and
innovation on the Internet and promote investment in the nation's broadband networks.
The FCC has long been committed to protecting and promoting an Internet that nurtures freedom of
speech and expression, supports innovation and commerce, and incentivizes expansion and investment by
America's broadband providers. But the agency's attempts to implement enforceable, sustainable rules to
protect the Open Internet have been twice struck down by the courts.
Today, the Commission'--once and for all'--enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources
of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open
Internet today and into the future. These new rules are guided by three principles: America's broadband
networks must be fast, fair and open'--principles shared by the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4
million commenters who participated in the FCC's Open Internet proceeding.
Absent action by the FCC, Internet openness is at risk, as recognized by the very court that struck down
the FCC's 2010 Open Internet rules last year inVerizon v. FCC.
Broadband providers have economic incentives that ''represent a threat to Internet openness and could act
in ways that would ultimately inhibit the speed and extent of future broadband deployment,'' as affirmed
by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The court upheld the Commission's finding
that Internet openness drives a ''virtuous cycle'' in which innovations at the edges of the network enhance
consumer demand, leading to expanded investments in broadband infrastructure that, in turn, spark new
innovations at the edge.
However, the court observed that nearly 15 years ago, the Commission constrained its ability to protect
against threats to the open Internet by a regulatory classification of broadband that precluded use of
statutory protections that historically ensured the openness of telephone networks. The Order finds that
the nature of broadband Internet access service has not only changed since that initial classification
decision, but that broadband providers have even more incentives to interfere with Internet openness
today. To respond to this changed landscape, the new Open Internet Order restores the FCC's legal
authority to fully address threats to openness on today's networks by following a template for
sustainability laid out in the D.C. Circuit Opinion itself, including reclassification of broadband Internet
access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act.
With a firm legal foundation established, the Order sets three ''bright-line'' rules of the road for behavior
known to harm the Open Internet, adopts an additional, flexible standard to future-proof Internet openness
rules, and protects mobile broadband users with the full array of Open Internet rules. It does so while
preserving incentives for investment and innovation by broadband providers by affording them an even
more tailored version of the light-touch regulatory treatment that fostered tremendous growth in the
mobile wireless industry.
Following are the key provisions and rules of the FCC's Open Internet Order:
New Rules to Protect an Open Internet
While the FCC's 2010 Open Internet rules had limited applicability to mobile broadband, the new rules'--
in their entirety'--would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, recognizing advances in technology
and the growing significance of wireless broadband access in recent years (while recognizing the
importance of reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed Wi-
Fi networks). The Order protects consumers no matter how they access the Internet, whether on a desktop
computer or a mobile device.
Bright Line Rules: The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet:
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.
The bright-line rules against blocking and throttling will prohibit harmful practices that target specific
applications or classes of applications. And the ban on paid prioritization ensures that there will be no
A Standard for Future Conduct: Because the Internet is always growing and changing, there must be a
known standard by which to address any concerns that arise with new practices. The Order establishes
that ISPs cannot ''unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage'' the ability of consumers to
select, access, and use the lawful content, applications, services, or devices of their choosing; or of edge
providers to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers. Today's
Order ensures that the Commission will have authority to address questionable practices on a case-by-
case basis, and provides guidance in the form of factors on how the Commission will apply the standard
Greater Transparency: The rules described above will restore the tools necessary to address specific
conduct by broadband providers that might harm the Open Internet. But the Order recognizes the critical
role of transparency in a well-functioning broadband ecosystem. In addition to the existing transparency
rule, which was not struck down by the court, the Order requires that broadband providers disclose, in a
consistent format, promotional rates, fees and surcharges and data caps. Disclosures must also include
packet loss as a measure of network performance, and provide notice of network management practices
that can affect service. To further consider the concerns of small ISPs, the Order adopts a temporary
exemption from the transparency enhancements for fixed and mobile providers with 100,000 or fewer
subscribers, and delegates authority to our Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to determine
whether to retain the exception and, if so, at what level.
The Order also creates for all providers a ''safe harbor'' process for the format and nature of the required
disclosure to consumers, which the Commission believes will lead to more effective presentation of
consumer-focused information by broadband providers.
Reasonable Network Management: For the purposes of the rules, other than paid prioritization, an ISP
may engage in reasonable network management. This recognizes the need of broadband providers to
manage the technical and engineering aspects of their networks.
In assessing reasonable network management, the Commission's standard takes account of the
particular engineering attributes of the technology involved'--whether it be fiber, DSL, cable,
unlicensed Wi-Fi, mobile, or another network medium.
However, the network practice must be primarily used for and tailored to achieving a legitimate
network management'--and not business'--purpose. For example, a provider can't cite reasonable
network management to justify reneging on its promise to supply a customer with ''unlimited''
Some data services do not go over the public Internet, and therefore are not ''broadband Internet access''
services (VoIP from a cable system is an example, as is a dedicated heart-monitoring service). The Order
ensures that these services do not undermine the effectiveness of the Open Internet rules. Moreover, all
broadband providers' transparency disclosures will continue to cover any offering of such non-Internet
access data services'--ensuring that the public and the Commission can keep a close eye on any tactics
that could undermine the Open Internet rules.
Interconnection: New Authority to Address Concerns
For the first time the Commission can address issues that may arise in the exchange of traffic between
mass-market broadband providers and other networks and services. Under the authority provided by the
Order, the Commission can hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if it determines the
interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable.
Legal Authority: Reclassifying Broadband Internet Access under Title II
The Order provides the strongest possible legal foundation for the Open Internet rules by relying on
multiple sources of authority including both Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. At the same time, the Order refrains '' or forbears '' from enforcing 27
provisions of Title II and over 700 associated regulations that are not relevant to modern broadband
service. Together Title II and Section 706 support clear rules of the road, providing the certainty needed
for innovators and investors, and the competitive choices and freedom demanded by consumers, while not
burdening broadband providers with anachronistic utility-style regulations such as rate regulation, tariffs
or network sharing requirements.
First, the Order reclassifies ''broadband Internet access service'''--that's the retail broadband
service Americans buy from cable, phone, and wireless providers'--as a telecommunications
service under Title II. This decision is fundamentally a factual one. It recognizes that today
broadband Internet access service is understood by the public as a transmission platform through
which consumers can access third-party content, applications, and services of their choosing.
Reclassification of broadband Internet access service also addresses any limitations that past
classification decisions placed on the ability to adopt strong open Internet rules, as interpreted by
the D.C. Circuit in theVerizoncase. And it supports the Commission's authority to address
interconnection disputes on a case-by-case basis, because the promise to consumers that they will
be able to travel the Internet encompasses the duty to make the necessary arrangements that allow
consumers to use the Internet as they wish.
Second, the proposal finds further grounding in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of
1996. Notably, theVerizoncourt held that Section 706 is an independent grant of authority to the
Commission that supports adoption of Open Internet rules. Using it here'--without the limitations
of the common carriage prohibition that flowed from earlier the ''information service''
classification'--bolsters the Commission's authority.
Third, the Order's provisions on mobile broadband also are based on Title III of the
Communications Act. The Order finds that mobile broadband access service is best viewed as a
commercial mobile service or its functional equivalent.
Forbearance: A modernized, light-touch approach
Congress requires the FCC to refrain from enforcing '' forbear from '' provisions of the Communications
Act that are not in the public interest. The Order applies some key provisions of Title II, and forbears
from most others. Indeed, the Order ensures that some 27 provisions of Title II and over 700 regulations
adopted under Title II will not apply to broadband. There is no need for any further proceedings before
the forbearance is adopted.The proposed Order would apply fewer sections of Title II than have applied
to mobile voice networks for over twenty years.
Major Provisions of Title II that the Order WILL APPLY:
The proposed Order applies ''core'' provisions of Title II: Sections 201 and 202 (e.g., no
unjust or unreasonable practices or discrimination)
Allows investigation of consumer complaints under section 208 and related enforcement
provisions, specifically sections 206, 207, 209, 216 and 217
Protects consumer privacy under Section 222
Ensures fair access to poles and conduits under Section 224, which would boost the
deployment of new broadband networks
Protects people with disabilities under Sections 225 and 255
Bolsters universal service fund support for broadband service in the future through partial
application of Section 254.
Major Provisions Subject to Forbearance:
Rate regulation: the Order makes clear that broadband providersshall notbe subject to
utility-style rate regulation, including rate regulation, tariffs, and last-mile unbundling.
Universal Service Contributions: the OrderDOES NOTrequire broadband providers to
contribute to the Universal Service Fund under Section 254. The question of how best to
fund the nation's universal service programs is being considered in a separate, unrelated
proceeding that was already underway.
Broadband service will remain exempt from state and local taxation under the Internet
Tax Freedom Act. This law, recently renewed by Congress and signed by the President,
bans state and local taxation on Internet access regardless of its FCC regulatory
The FCC will enforce the Open Internet rules through investigation and processing of
formal and informal complaints
Enforcement advisories, advisory opinions and a newly-created ombudsman will provide
The Enforcement Bureau can request objective written opinions on technical matters
from outside technical organizations, industry standards-setting bodies and other
Fostering Investment and Competition
All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. To preserve
incentives for broadband operators to invest in their networks, the Order will modernize Title II using the
forbearance authority granted to the Commission by Congress'--tailoring the application of Title II for the
21st century, encouraging Internet Service Providers to invest in the networks on which Americans
The Order forbears from applying utility-style rate regulation, including rate regulation or tariffs,
last-mile unbundling, and burdensome administrative filing requirements or accounting standards.
Mobile voice services have been regulated under a similar light-touch Title II approach, and
investment and usage boomed.
Investment analysts have concluded that Title II with appropriate forbearance is unlikely to have
any negative on the value or future profitability of broadband providers. Providers such as Sprint,
Frontier, as well as representatives of hundreds of smaller carriers that have voluntarily adopted
Title II regulation, have likewise said that a light-touch, Title II classification of broadband will
not depress investment.
Action by the Commission February 26, 2015, by Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and
Order (FCC 15-24). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel with Commissioners
Pai and O'Rielly dissenting. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and
O'Rielly issuing statements.
Docket No.: 14-28
News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found
on the Commission's web sitewww.fcc.gov.
Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.