The FCC’s 305 (Not So Dirty) Words

After all the talk about the Obama Administration’s “secret 300+ page plan to regulate the internet,” the actual text of the FCC order has now been released. The language that matters, the substantive new rules, is only 305 words long. (There are also, importantly, 261 words of definitions, which state that the rules apply to broadband internet access and any “functional equivalent” or service “used to evade the protections.”)

Here are the FCC’s new Network Neutrality rules:

§ 8.5 No blocking. A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.

§ 8.7 No throttling. A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of a non-harmful device, subject to reasonable network management.

§ 8.9 No paid prioritization. (a) A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not engage in paid prioritization. (b) “Paid prioritization” refers to the management of a broadband provider’s network to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic, including through use of techniques such as traffic shaping, prioritization, resource reservation, or other forms of preferential traffic management, either (a) in exchange for consideration (monetary or otherwise) from a third party, or (b) to benefit an affiliated entity. (c) The Commission may waive the ban on paid prioritization only if the petitioner demonstrates that the practice would provide some significant public interest benefit and would not harm the open nature of the Internet.

§ 8.11 No unreasonable interference or unreasonable disadvantage standard for Internet conduct. Any person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage (i) end users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or the lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of their choice, or (ii) edge providers’ ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to end users. Reasonable network management shall not be considered a violation of this rule.

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