In a very uncharacteristically American move the United States has decided to impose new government-meddling regulations on the Internet. These new Net Neutrality regulations or “open Internet rules” from the FCC will go into effect on November 20, 2011 — so long as it isn’t derailed by the lawsuits in place from Verizon and MetroPCS.
Verizon and MetroPCS are both suing the government over the new Net Neutrality laws and feel that the government is over-stepping their bounds, especially for a government that built its reputation on a free-market economy.
The new open Internet rules being put in place, according to the FCC, are made to define and refine three main categories of the Internet: transparency, blockage, and discrimination.
The transparency rules are designed to ensure that fixed and mobile broadband providers are forced to disclose their network management practices, performance diagnostics and to clearly define their terms of commercial services.
The second part of the new regulations are designed to ensure that no broadband provider blocks lawful content, services, applications or any other non-harmful devices or sites. This would include prohibiting mobile broadband providers from blocking competing applications, websites and services to their voice and video telephony paid services.
The third part of the new regulation states that broadband providers will not be allowed to discriminate against specific users, sites, services or applications which are lawful, despite their usage or content.
Many are criticizing the FCC’s tactics on implementing the new rules based on their current totalitarian control over broadband providers. The FCC has the option to break apart broadband provider control by reclassifying them in such a way that would allow for more specific regulations but would give the FCC only “ancillary jurisdiction” over the providers.
Not wanting to lose control over broadband providers the FCC refused to reclassify providers. Law professor and net neutrality follower James Grimmelmann was quoted as saying that the new rules will not stand a chance without such a reclassification, “the FCC is in a real tangle here. I think if they reclassified broadband service (long story), they’d have a better shot at getting their rules to stick.”