FCC Releases 400-Page Net Neutrality Order

It didn't break the Internet, but the weight of the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) 400-page Open Internet Order, published Thursday, nearly brought the commission's Web site to its knees. In fact, the Web site sometimes failed to load the full document as large numbers of fans and foes alike presumably tried to download the order at the same time.

The much-anticipated order provides details about the FCC's historic 3-2 vote last month in favor of Net neutrality. The order establishes what it calls "clear, bright-line rules" against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of content delivery by Internet service providers. All three of those practices invariably harm the open Internet, according to the FCC.

The document also stipulates that service providers cannot act in ways that would result in "unreasonable interference or unreasonable disadvantage to consumers or edge providers." In other words, ISPs cannot act as gatekeepers that would "reduce the rate of innovation at the edge and, in turn, the likely rate of improvements to network infrastructure, the FCC said.

'Exactly What the Public Fought for'

While proponents of Net neutrality cheered last month's FCC decision, which was advocated by record-breaking millions of supporters who submitted their comments to the commission, the vote represents a battle won, rather than a war. Both sides acknowledge the issue is likely to continue being argued in the courts for at least the next couple years.

On Thursday, however, supporters saw a reason to celebrate with the publication of the FCC's order. "This is exactly what the public fought for," Evan Greer told us. "This is an unprecedented victory, really, against entrenched power."

Greer, who is Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, a pro-Net neutrality organization, said he and other members of the group were still reading through the FCC's order, but so far they said...

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