Jonathan Charnitski, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, December 22, 2010 – In an uncommon split vote on Tuesday, the FCC handed down an order requiring network providers to abide by certain rules intended to maintain network neutrality.
The order provided three guidelines by which internet service providers must abide in their offerings to consumers. First, the commission said, ISPs must provide services in a transparent manner by disclosing their network management practices and performance characteristics. Second, network providers must not block lawful content from their customers, and third, providers may not unreasonably discriminate by prioritizing certain network traffic without sufficient reason.
Though each commissioner was quick to point out that the overwhelming majority of actions by the FCC enjoy not only bipartisan, but unanimous support, the neutrality order vote fell along party lines, with the Democratic appointees voting in favor and the Republican appointees voting against. Even among the Democratic appointees, approval of the measure belied the ideological rift between the order as passed and what Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn stated they would have preferred.
Speaking first, Commissioner Copps harkened to the days of the Bell monopolies and AT&T dominance as cautionary tales of what might happen without sufficient protections.
“Today’s action could have – and should have – gone further,” said Copps, adding that he “seriously considered” issuing an order-killing dissent. “But without action today, progress would have ground to a halt for at least the next two years. In the end, I believe we made progress – not as much as I had hoped, but more than some people expected.”
- FCC poised to adopt network neutrality rules (usatoday.com)
- FCC has votes for Internet rules say officials (reuters.com)
- BREAKING: FCC Backs Net Neutrality Order (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)