September 23, 2011
FCC’s Net Neutrality Begin November 20th
The Federal Communication Commission´s controversial net neutrality rules - designed to prevent Internet providers from imposing higher fees on subscribers that stream video, downloading music or play online games - will be published in the Federal Register today and go into effect on November 20, according to a report by PCMag.com.
Documents that are published in the Federal Register acquire “evidentiary status,” making them admissible in court.
The FCC´s net neutrality rules were adopted on December 21, 2010, but they had not gone into effect because the commission was slow to publish them, which makes them official.
Verizon Communications sued the FCC in federal court shortly after it passed the net neutrality rules in December, arguing that the FCC had contravened its authority. But the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the case, calling it premature, since the rules had not yet been published to the Federal Register.
Now that the publication is upon us, Verizon and other broadband providers could initiate more lawsuits, potentially keeping the new regulations from ever seeing the light of day.
The FCC decided to craft the new rules after Comcast was accused of blocking P2P sites. Back then, it was okay to slow down your entire network during peak times, but it was not allowed to block particular sites from accessing content.
Net neutrality rules will change that. They are meant to give everyone equal access to the Web. The regulations will allow the FCC to impose fines and bring injunctions against companies that slow down Internet service to those customers who are streaming and downloading more content than usual.
The regulations also prevent networks from discriminating against content that comes from competitors. The rules will be more strict for wired broadband providers than for wireless providers.
The FCC approved net neutrality rules along party lines. The order received support from Genachowski and Democratic commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, but was not approved by GOP commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker.
The Verizon challenge isn't the only obstacle facing the FCC℠s new rules. In a largely symbolic move, House Republicans voted 240 to 179 to overturn the regulations. However, the move does not appear likely to be taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate or by President Barack Obama, who has vowed to veto the bill if it ever makes it to his desk.
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