The new rules will prevent Internet service providers from blocking web traffic or charging websites for priority service. They also give the FCC the ability to review interconnection deal such as the one between Netflix and Comcast corp.
To impose the new policy, the FCC reclassified broadband, both fixed and mobile, as more heavily regulated 'telecommunications services', similar to a traditional telephone service.
Previously, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the FCC's attempt to draft Open Internet rules saying that the FCC was trying to regulate Internet providers like traditional "common carrier" telecommunications services. The reclassification of Internet service under Title II is an effort to patch that hole.
Net Neutrality was pushed into the public spotlight last year when Netflix complained publicly that broadband companies were slowing down access to the service to get leverage in pricing negotiations. Additionally, President Obama publicly called on the FCC to declare the Internet a public utility, saying it's essential that the 'strongest possible rules' are in place to make sure the Internet doesn't get divided into fast and slow lanes.
The FCC order will take effect 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.
Here are the 'Bright Line Rules':
● No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
● No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
● No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.
The bright-line rules against blocking and throttling will prohibit harmful practices that target specific applications or classes of applications. And the ban on paid prioritization ensures that there will be no fast lanes.
It's likely that broadband providers will fight the new rules in court.