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Open Internet Order

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Citation Edit

Federal Communications Commission, Open Internet Order (Feb. 26, 2015) (full-text).

Overview Edit

The Order, which became effective on June 12, 2015, bans three specific practices that the FCC claims will invariably harm the open Internetblocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, This Order bans each of them, applying the same rules to both fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service.

No blocking Edit

Consumers who subscribe to a retail broadband Internet access service must get access to all (lawful) destinations on the Internet. This essential and well-accepted principle has long been a tenet of FCC policy, stretching back to its landmark decision in Carterfone, which protected a customer's right to connect a telephone to the monopoly telephone network. This Order adopts a straightforward ban:

A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non- harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.

No throttling Edit

The 2010 Open Internet rule against blocking contained an ancillary prohibition against the degradation of lawful content, applications, services, and devices, on the ground that such degradation would be tantamount to blocking. This Order creates a separate rule to guard against degradation targeted at specific uses of a customer's broadband connection:

A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of a non-harmful device, subject to reasonable network management.

The ban on throttling is necessary both to fulfill the reasonable expectations of a customer who signs up for a broadband service that promises access to all of the lawful Internet, and to avoid gamesmanship designed to avoid the no-blocking rule by, for example, rendering an application effective]ly, but not technically, unusable. It prohibits the degrading of Internet traffic based on source, destination, or content. It also specifically prohibits conduct that singles out content competing with a broadband provider's business model.

No Paid Prioritization Edit

Paid prioritization occurs when a broadband provider accepts payment (monetary or otherwise) to manage its network in a way that benefits particular content, applications, services, or devices.

To protect against "fast lanes," this Order adopts a rule that establishes that:

A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not engage in paid prioritization.

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