Some groups who favor the rules claim they are necessary to protect Americans from large Internet providers that shouldn't have the discretion to block access to websites and otherwise discriminate on the Internet.
"As more people use the Internet for all things media, Internet providers have massive financial incentives to make sites and services pay a premium to reach their users, and to make their users pay extra to experience the entire Internet," wrote Timothy Karr of the nonprofit organization Free Press in a blog posting. "And with most Americans having two or fewer options for broadband in their respective markets, there's not enough competition to hold these companies in check. Congress should not pass a resolution that lets a few wealthy corporations get away with hijacking our online rights."
One of the rules requires fixed and mobile broadband providers to reveal their network-management practices, performance and characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband service. Some critics had asserted the disclosure requirements were too broad and burdensome and could subject broadband providers to untold litigation, and public documents indicate publication of the rules was delayed as the FCC worked with industry players to address such concerns. The rules further prohibit fixed broadband providers from unreasonable discriminating in transmitting lawful network traffic. Fixed broadband providers further are barred from blocking lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices on their networks, and mobile broadband companies must not block lawful Web sites or applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services.
In the December 2010 order, the FCC asserted "that openness of the Internet cannot be taken for granted, and that it faces real threats."
"Indeed, we have seen broadband providers endanger the Internet's openness by blocking or degrading content and applications without disclosing their practices to end users and edge providers" despite the FCC's adoption of certain open Internet principles several years ago, the agency said.
Verizon asserts the rules are unnecessary and will create uncertainty in the communications industry. The New York-based telecom titan also claims the FCC has exceeded its authority.