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Net Neutrality

Background 

Net Neutrality entails an Open Internet that treats all internet traffic equally regardless of content or source.  

On May 15, 2014 the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet. It was necessary for the FCC to open a new proceeding given the D.C. Circuit Court’s January 14, 2014 ruling in Verizon vs.  Federal Communications Commission, which struck down the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order against blocking and discrimination of Internet traffic. The Court found that the FCC could not apply such Open Internet protections, if it designated Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as “information services.” The Court’s ruling has left a void which allows ISPs to block and discriminate against any Internet traffic. In this new proceeding, the FCC will consider policies that define Open Internet rules and comply with the Court’s ruling. The FCC’s May 2014 notice proposes to resolve the conflict by using an industry standard of “commercially reasonable.”  

CPUC Commissioners are expected to vote on whether the CPUC will file reply comments on the FCC’s proposal, which are due on September 15, 2014.

On February 4, 2015, the FCC issued a Fact Sheet on Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to set "clear, sustainable, enforceable rules to preserve and protect the open Internet." The FFC plans to vote on the proposal at its February 26, 2015 open meeting.

On February 26, 2015 the FCC approved Rules to protect the Open Internet by reclassifying it under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which will allow the FCC to regulate the Internet similar to a telephone carrier. The FCC issued a Press Release summarizing its Rules.

On March 12, 2015, the FCC released its Open Internet Order.

 

ORA Position

ORA supports an Open Internet that allows customers to receive unobstructed access to the entire Internet at the consistent speed to which they subscribed. The Internet is a service that customers rely upon for communications, information, education, and health and safety.  

ORA recommends a combination of Title II reclassification and restrained regulation that would include these customer protections:

  • Implement and enforce rules against blocking and discrimination of lawful Internet traffic.
  • Advance broadband Internet access deployment and adoption on a universal basis in accordance with the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.
  • Maintain and enhance public safety.
  • Protect privacy. 
  • Encourage fair and robust competition.

See ORA’s August 26, 2014 Letter and Analysis to CPUC Commissioners on Net Neutrality.

 

Proceeding Status

The FCC accepted Opening Comments July 15-18, 2014.

The FCC accepted Reply Comments on September 15, 2014.

 

Resources

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality, wired.com, February 4, 2015 

White House Fact Sheet: Broadband That Works: Promoting Competition & Local Choice In Next Generation Connectivity, January 13, 2015

President Obama’s Statement on Net Neutrality, November 10, 2014

Netflix’s Presentation, CPUC Thought Leaders Series, August 7, 2014

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, “The Facts and Future of Broadband Competition, September 4, 2014

Selection of Comments Filed with the FCC   

 

Studies

NASUCA Critique of Christopher Yoo Study on Broadband Deployment, Presented to the FCC, Lee Selwyn, September 17, 2014

Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, "Next Generation Connectivity: A Review of Broadband Internet Transitions and Policy from Around the World," 2010.

Lee Selwyn Study, "Regulation, Investment and Jobs: How Regulation of Wholesale Markets Can Stimulate Private Sector Broadband Investment and Create Jobs," Economics and Technology, Inc., 2010.    

Christopher Yoo Study, "U.S. Versus European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?," Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, University of Pennsylvania Law School, June 2014.

Akamai State of the Internet Report, Q1 2014.