US Federal Communications Commission approved Net Neutrality Rules to protect Open Internet
The Order protects consumers no matter how they access the Internet, whether on a desktop computer or a mobile device.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States (US) on 26 February 2015 voted to implement the Net Neutrality Rules.
In the five-member FCC, three commissioners voted in favour of rules whereas two commissioners voted against it. The Rules were proposed by the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
The rules seek to make sure that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the US treat all legal content equally so as to preserve the Internet as a platform for innovation, free expression and economic growth.
Features of the Net Neutrality Rules
• Broadband access has been classified as a telecommunication service which means that it will be subject to much heavier regulation
• Broadband providers cannot block or speed up connections for a fee
• The rules bars internet providers from any deals with content firms, known as paid prioritisation, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers
• Interconnection deals have been regulated. Interconnection deals means a place where content companies pay broadband providers to connect to their networks
• Firms that feel that they are levied with unjust fees can complain to the FCC in which each case will be dealt with on a case by case basis
• These rules are also applied to mobile providers as well as fixed line providers
These rules are guided by three principles, namely America’s broadband networks must be fast, fair and open. The principles were shared by a majority of nearly 4 million people who participated in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding.
About Net Neutrality
Net neutrality also known as Internet neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.
The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier.