FCC Seeks Consensus on New Effort to Make Network Neutrality Rules
NEWS ANALYSIS: The Federal Communications Commission says it will attempt to write new network neutrality rules with the legal grounding to pass federal court review.The Federal Communications Commission will try again to establish regulations that uphold "network neutrality" with the legal grounding to withstand review by the federal courts. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Feb. 19 that he would use a recent ruling of a federal court as an invitation to use Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to write new rules that uphold network neutrality, which is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all forms of Web data equally and shouldn't block, slow down or charge more to transmit certain types of data. Wheeler said the commission will start the process to gather public comment on possible new network neutrality regulations in preparation for a ruling later this year. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia focused on narrow, technical grounds to overturn the FCC's original set of network neutrality rules requiring non-discriminatory access to the Internet. In that ruling the court said that the FCC had the authority to propose rules that would meet the court's test for preventing improper discrimination in Internet access.
The basis for this new direction is the provision in Section 706 that gives the FCC the power to remove barriers to infrastructure deployment, encourage innovation and promote competition.