The main battlefield for the net neutrality fight right now is at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in a “rulemaking” underway this summer, which asks for public comment about a new set of proposed rules that the FCC claims will protect the open Internet. This process is one of the most important ways Internet users, businesses, trade groups, and public interest organizations can make their voice heard in this critically important national debate. To help that along, let’s take a close look at the process and the proposal the FCC has put on the table.
The quick version
This isn’t the FCC’s first neutrality rodeo. Time and again, the FCC has proposed open Internet rules but they keep getting knockeddown in court. The FCC’s latest proposed rules are intended to replace a prior set of regulations that a court threw out in January. The new proposal has three main parts. The first is a transparency rule that requires Internet access providers to disclose how they manage traffic and price their services. The second is a ban on blocking websites or other Internet services, and the third is a “no commercially unreasonable practices” rule that the FCC says will stop the sort of non-neutral practices by Internet providers that many people are concerned about.
EFF and many others believe the “commercially unreasonable practices” rule won’t stop non-neutral practices like special access deals, pay-for-play, and preferential treatment for privileged Internet users. And we continue to have the same concern about the proposed rules that we raised about the 2010 rules – namely, that the exceptions are too broad.
The public can comment on the FCC’s new proposal. Public comments are due July 15th, and “reply” comments in response to other commenters are due September 10th. EFF will be weighing in, and you should too.
Now for a slightly longer explanation. …