FCC to Pass Internet Regulation Order

The Federal Communications Commission has lined up the requisite votes to pass a controversial net neutrality order during its monthly meeting Tuesday (Dec. 21). The order will represent the first time the FCC has adopted enforceable rules to regulate the Internet.

In a press briefing late Monday (Dec. 20) afternoon, senior FCC officials said the final draft of the order incorporated the suggestions of Democratic commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, who now both feel comfortable concurring in the order.

The two Republican commissioners are expected to dissent.

The order will put in place three high-level rules. First, the Internet services consumers and small businesses rely on must be transparent. Second, Internet services cannot block lawful content. Third, Internet services cannot unreasonably discriminate against any lawful content or give preferential treatment to certain content. The rules governing wireless services are not as strict, but such services will also be prohibited from blocking content.

Internet services would still be allowed to manage traffic by charging different rates, depending on the type of content.

Congressional Republicans have criticized the FCC for going ahead with Internet regulation without Congressional authority.