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US Regulator Approves 'Net Neutrality' for ISPs
Mar 05, 2015

U.S. regulators approved the strictest-ever rules on Internet Service Providers. The new regulations come after a year of jostling between cable and telecom companies and net neutrality lobby. It culminated in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) receiving a record 4 million comments and a call from President Barack Obama to adopt the strongest rules possible.

  • FCC is an independent agency of the United States government, created by Congressional statute.

  • The agency's new policy, approved as expected along party lines, reclassifies broadband, both fixed and mobile, as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service, more like a traditional telephone service.

  • In the past, broadband was classified as a more lightly regulated information service, which factored into a federal court's rejection of the FCC's previous set of rules in January 2014.

  • The shift gives the FCC more authority to keep an eye on various types of deals between service providers and content companies to ensure they are just and reasonable for consumers and competitors. 

  • Internet providers will be banned from blocking or slowing any traffic and from striking deals with content companies, known as paid prioritization, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers.

  • The FCC also expands its oversight power to so-called interconnection deals, in which content companies pay broadband providers to connect with their networks. The FCC would review complaints on a case-by-case basis.

  • The rules, which will go into effect in coming weeks, are expected to face legal challenges from multiple parties such as wireless, cable and other broadband companies and trade groups.

  • Large Internet providers say they support the no-blocking and no-discrimination principles of the new rules but that the FCC's regulatory path will discourage investment by lowering returns and limiting experimentation with services and business plans.

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