dslreports logo

story category
FCC Announces They'll Craft Flimsy New Net Neutrality Rules
by Karl Bode 12:00PM Wednesday Feb 19 2014
The FCC today announced that the agency will not reclassify ISPs as common carriers as many consumer advocates and policy wonks hoped for. Nor will the agency appeal Verizon's recent court ruling that resulted in their former network neutrality rules being dismantled. Instead, the FCC says the agency will draft new network neutrality rules, hoping (that word being emphasized) that existing 706 rules can be used to defend FCC authority.

While a recent court ruling did strike down existing net neutrality rules, the ruling at the same time did acknowledge the FCC has some authority to regulate broadband providers. That authority remains shaky, however.

The agency spoke "on background" with reporters earlier today, stating they would be launching an official rulemaking seeking public input on how to use that 706 authority to defend their rules, while stating the agency will keep the Title II docket open for input (read: as a threat that the agency will take things further if ISPs don't play nice, but one can can be fairly certain the FCC will never follow through on).

The 1996 Telecom Act, it's worth noting, is the target of a "modernization" effort that should begin this year and last a few years, with many ISPs eager to use that rewrite to weaken the FCC's Section 706 authority more than it already is. As such, this path forward on network neutrality is anything but certain. In fact, it might just be muddier than ever.

Update: Here's the official statement by the FCC and here (pdf) is the public notice of rulemaking.

topics flat nest 


Limestone, ME

Who's Going to be in with them?

Which former ISP lawyer turned lobbyist is going to be sitting at the head of the table?

Forest Hills, NY
·Time Warner Cable

congress needs to stengthen fcc powers

if isp's can't be reclassified as common carriers, then the fcc will need broader powers to regulate them as such. whether the fcc is bought and paid for by industry lobbyists is not at issue here - even if the fcc wanted to take a hard line against isp's, they would be tied up by them for years in court given their current legal classification.

Camelot One
Greenwood, IN

Re: congress needs to stengthen fcc powers

The problem is that getting those powers would require action by Congress, and they are even deeper in the Telco/Cableco pockets than the boys at the FCC.


Glen Head, NY
The FCC needs no more power. They already have to power to reclassify ISP's back to Common Carriers subject to enhanced regulation. Anything else is just a punt inviting even more court cases.
I support the right to keep and arm bears.


Waterford, MI

Re: congress needs to stengthen fcc powers

said by n2jtx:

The FCC needs no more power. They already have to power to reclassify ISP's back to Common Carriers subject to enhanced regulation.

"Back to?" They never had common carrier status in the first place, so there's no reclassifying them "back to" it.

Secondly, and more importantly: Be careful what you wish for. Right now ISPs have fairly free reign to establish Terms Of Service (TOS') and Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) with which they can, for example, fairly easily boot spammers, scammers and other network abusers off their networks. They also have fairly free reign to block traffic from persistently abusive network partners. Common Carrier status will change all that.


Fullerton, CA
·Time Warner Cable
·AT&T DSL Service

Re: congress needs to stengthen fcc powers

ISPs who were given free easements to install their fiber, copper, whatever deserve to be regulated utilities. Forever.

I sure don't give an unregulated company easement on my property for free. AT&T is only there because of their common carrier status running the PSTN.

If they want to be deregulated, to be able to do what they want, charge what they want, deny service when they want (which AT&T did to me) then I want to charge them $6000 a month for the easements they have on my property.

I have two AT&T vaults on my property and I am not that cheap. I have an interest in charging the entire cost to them, which they want to do to me. They charge me what they want, take it or leave it. They gave me a Uverse DSL line that wouldn't even sustain 2.5 MBPS and they wouldn't fix it. Then they kept raising the prices month after month until I threw them out. They were worthless.

And I still have two AT&T vaults. $3000 a month each, if they want to be deregulated or sell any unregulated services through those easements.

Holy Cable Modem Batman

Washington, DC

Wheeler finally fed up with Netflix quality?

Maybe Wheeler has finally had it with his Netflix quality.

»gigaom.com/2014/01/28/the-fcc-wi ··· revails/

"The chairman of the FCC struggles with his Netflix stream too. In a conversation with me at the State of the Net conference in Washington DC, Chairman Tom Wheeler expressed the same frustrations with his Netflix streams that consumers have in forums around the internet. And because he’s the chairman of the agency in charge of ensuring that the companies providing broadband remain competitive and consumer-friendly, he’s in a position to do something about it.

When asked about what the FCC’s stance is on the ongoing peering fights between ISPs and application providers like Netflix or Google, the Chairman said that the agency would look into the practice with the eye to ensuring that parties are not hurting the consumer nor engaging in anti-competitive practices."
"We're going to start at one end of (Fallujah), and we're not going to stop until we get to the other. If there's anybody left when that happens, we're going to turn around and we're going to go back and finish it."
Lt. Col. Pete Newell: 1st Inf. US Army

Madison, AL

Oh well. We all lose.

The headline will read:

New Net Neutrality rules to be Neutered by New Lawsuit

Only the lawyers and ISP's will get rich.
Louisville, KY

Re: Oh well. We all lose.

True....Only the lawyers and ISP's will get rich and only the Poor will fight our wars....without the Draft, the rich kids get to stay at home and become lawyers and ISP owners.

Greenville, SC

You might get your wish

"Seeking public input..." = Waiting for the lobbyists to write the legislation for us.

Washington, DC

Re: You might get your wish

Exactly what I was thinking. This is really a complete surrender, giving up consumer protection for years at least, at which point something to lock out new competitors will appear.

Champaign, IL

Show of Hands?

Raise your hand if you were naive enough to believe the FCC would ever regulate the ISP's with common carrier status.

Not in my lifetime.

Regulations are for us - the plebs - not corporations and the elite class.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory ··· _capture

Question everything
Westfield, MA
·Verizon Wireless..

Re: Show of Hands?

You got it sir. This is what people need to wake the hell up, people set their sights on going after the big corporations all the while happening our government sneaks in these new laws at the traditional midnight votes. And for the against regulation crowd saying the providers will find another way to get that money back, well the government sets the rules, no matter how much lobby money is passed you piss them off enough aka screwing with the Senates and congresses sports games seem to get them off there asses. Good luck getting those dollars back when they start closing loopholes. I know it's a pipe dream but when the guard starts to change in Washington maybe just maybe someone from my generation will break from the norm.

On a separate note my political status makes me very valuable to the party's so I have politicians calling me all the time, but the other day I received a call from a Representative running for my district, he actually called me from his personal cellphone, we talked for over a hour about the basic crap, happy with government bla bla. But he asked me what i feel most passionate about and I started flooding him with our current situation with cable company's and the constant rake prices. I explained to him what a duopoly was and the strongish arguments we tech guys have because we see it every minute of every day. He gave me his email so I have been battering him with articles on net neutrality, carrier fees, Etc. He actually told me this is the first time a voter has brought it to attention, then I told him the next time he calls a potential voter to bring the issue up of there cable bill and see what they say. I know he isn't that big of a politician but even a little fire started might help out.

Naples, FL


No balls, why do they even exist in the first place? Waste of money if you ask me.
The Antihero

Enola, PA


To make sure boobs don't get shown on TV, apparently.

Naples, FL


That would be...horrible! Think of the children!


They were created for Clear Channel and the other radio stations shut down pirate radio stations.

Naples, FL


Pretty sure Clear Channel wasn't around in 1934...

Formed June 19, 1934; 79 years ago


Common carriers

The FCC today announced that the agency will not reclassify ISPs as common carriers as many consumer advocates and policy wonks hoped for.
In the linked documents I don't see any explanation why they don't want to reclassify ISPs as common carriers. Did they actually explain or not?


New York, NY

Re: Common carriers

Because they are siding with industry and God forbid you interfere with profit. We lose again. They are allowing them wiggle room to keep screwing us.



Re: Common carriers

The FCC screwed up when they decided the Internet was information services instead of communication services back with Brand X and the creation of the last mile of the MSO network being shared. That's when everything become information and the FCC is "communications".

your name

said by rit56:

Because they are siding with industry and God forbid you interfere with profit. We lose again. They are allowing them wiggle room to keep screwing us.

No. Because the FCC ultimately knows Congress is calling the shots on Common Carrier status for the internet, and that they don't have the backing there to make that call.


Re: Common carriers

And why can't Congress approve it? Simple corruption or they have something valid they object to?

Cleveland, OH


You suck Wheeler.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

Let the lobbyist feeding frenzy begin

Now's the chance for at&t, Verizon, Comcast to craft the rules that really will make them billions over coming years and permanently prevent competition and real regulation.

Release the Hounds!
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini