Monday, April 13, 2015

FCC Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet summary

I posted this bit over on Ars Technica's comments section, and thought it was worth reposting here.  The FCC released the formal rules around the Open Internet Order today.

Here is my TL;DR version of the meat of the Open Internet Order:

1. No Blocking - A broadband provider may not block access to legal services on the internet, subject to reasonable network management.

2. No Throttling - A broadband provider may not "impair or degrade lawful internet traffic," subject to reasonable network management.

3. No Paid Prioritization - Direct or indirect favoring of traffic of one kind over another is prohibited. This rule is not subject to the caveat of reasonable network management, because as is described below, the caveat applies to technical aspects, not business process.

4. No Unreasonable interference or disadvantage between customers and edge services - This is the catch all, for anyone trying to find a way around the three rules above. The clause recognizes that an ISP may exert its position as gatekeeper between subscribers and internet services, and hedges against that eventuality that the power will be abused.

5. Broadband providers must transparently report - Codifying a 2010 rule, providers must disclose network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of their broadband services.

6. Establishes regulatory domain over interconnection - Acknowledges that it is subject to action, but makes no rules at this time.

7. Defines reasonable network management - Reasonable network management (as italicized above and throughout) is strictly defined as a technical process, and does not apply to business practices, such as the example of a carrier throttling "unlimited" plans after an amount of usage.

8. Mobile networks are subject to the same rules as wired - 'Nuff said.

9. Services such that are not broadband internet access services are not subject to these Orders - The example given is bundled VOIP phone service. Since the service itself does not talk across the internet, it is not subject to the rules. This is a clear example of the type of other services that must be reported upon as per section 5.