FCC's Net Neutrality Takes Effect

By Josh Long Comments

Controversial Internet regulations that are facing court challenges in Washington, D.C., took effect Sunday, 11 months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt them.

The Open Internet Order or FCC's so-called Net Neutrality rules went into effect yesterday, requiring wireless and landline broadband providers to make certain disclosures to consumers and comply with a number of other rules that are intended to preserve the openness of the Internet.

The rules could be short-lived because they face judicial review in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit.

But at least for now, the likes of AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications must comply with the FCC's December 2010 order.

The FCC has laid out several methods of enforcing adherence to the rules, including granting certain parties the option to file both informal and formal complaints with the agency against broadband providers that are allegedly violating the rules. The FCC also can commence investigations on its own.

The agency anticipates that many parties will be able to resolve disputes without its involvement. 

"We thus encourage parties to endeavor to resolve disputes through direct negotiation focused on relevant technical issues, and to consult with independent technical bodies," the FCC stated in its order.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a resolution to overturn the FCC's rules.

The issue of Net Neutrality – and the need for government rules to maintain open access to Internet pages, applications and other content – has been the subject of debate for several years.

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