Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Verizon Files Appeal of FCC Net Neutrality Order

Verizon Communications is challenging the Federal Communications Commission's Report and Order on rules dealing with the issue of net neutrality. The company has filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.


"Verizon has long been committed to preserving an open Internet and meeting the needs of our customers. We have worked extensively with all players in the Internet and communications space to shape policies that ensure an open Internet and encourage investment, innovation and collaboration with content providers and others to meet the needs of consumers. Today's filing is the result of a careful review of the FCC's order. We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers." http://www.verizon.com

  • On 21-December-2010, The FCC approved new rules governing the management of Internet traffic, with the three Democrats on the commission voting in favor of the measure and the two Republicans voting against.


    Key elements of the new Order include:


    Rule 1: Transparency -- A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.


    Rule 2: No Blocking -- A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management. A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network


    Rule 3: No Unreasonable Discrimination -- A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer's broadband Internet access service. Reasonable network management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination.


    Significantly, "reasonable network management" is defined as follows: "A network management practice is reasonable if it is appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the particular network architecture and technology of the broadband Internet access service. Legitimate network management purposes include: ensuring network security and integrity, including by addressing traffic that is harmful to the network; addressing traffic that is unwanted by users (including by premise operators), such as by providing services or capabilities consistent with a user's choices regarding parental controls or security capabilities; and by reducing or mitigating the effects of congestion on the network."


    The FCC rules go on to say that "Pay for Priority" delivery of packets on wireline broadband networks is likely to run afoul of the "no unreasonable discrimination" clause because it would represent a significant departure from current practices.


    Mobile broadband is largely exempt from the "reasonable network management" clause, as the document acknowledges that this market is an earlier-stage platform than fixed broadband, and it is rapidly evolving.

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