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Net Neutrality Rules Start Nov. 20

23 Sep, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Nearly a year after the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, approved Internet neutrality rules that force Internet service providers, or ISPs, to treat all Web content equally, an enforcement start date has been determined: Nov. 20.

The date was revealed in a document released by the FCC late Sept. 22.

“We believe these rules, applied with the complementary principle of reasonable network management, will empower and protect consumers and innovators while helping ensure that the Internet continues to flourish, with robust private investment and rapid innovation at both the core and the edge of the network,” the filing reads. “This is consistent with the National Broadband Plan goal of broadband access that is ubiquitous and fast, promoting the global competitiveness of the United States.”

The controversial Internet neutrality rules prevent ISPs from blocking lawful content, applications, services and the connection of devices to networks. The FCC said the rules revolve around transparency, no blocking and no reasonable discrimination.

“Consumers and innovators do not have to seek permission before they use the Internet to launch new technologies, start businesses, connect with friends or share their views. The Internet is a level playing field,” the filing reads. “Consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what content they want to access, create or share with others. This openness promotes competition.”

The filing mentions that video aggregators such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and iTunes, which are unaffiliated with traditional ISP operators, cannot be discriminated against by the companies controlling the Internet pipeline.

“Several [operators] have stated publicly that they view these services as a potential competitive threat to their core video subscription service,” the filing reads. “Thus, online edge services appear likely to continue gaining subscribers and market significance, which will put additional competitive pressure on broadband providers’ own services.

“By interfering with the transmission of third parties’ Internet-based services or raising the cost of online delivery for particular edge providers, telephone and cable companies can make those services less attractive to subscribers in comparison to their own offerings.”

Open Internet advocates have said the rules don’t go far enough, while pro-business voices say the rules will stifle innovation, and have promised to fight the rules in court.

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