FCC Adopts Controversial Net Neutrality Rules Governing Broadband Internet Access Services
By Carl W. Northrop, Michael Lazarus & David Darwin
The Federal Communications Commission (the FCC or Commission) recently released an Order in a notice and comment rulemaking proceeding imposing regulatory requirements on both fixed and wireless communications service providers who provide broadband access to the Internet. Preserving the Open Internet; Broadband Industry Practices, Report and Order, GN Docket No. 09-191, WC Docket No. 07-52, FCC 10-201 (rel. Dec. 23, 2010). The regulations, which are commonly referred to as the Net Neutrality or Open Internet rules, were adopted in a politically charged atmosphere on a 3 to 2 vote along party lines, and are certain to generate ongoing debate, legal challenges and, perhaps, Congressional attention. In the meantime, communications service providers, as well as providers of edge services (content, application, service and equipment providers and manufacturers) and investors in telecommunications networks and technologies need to factor the Net Neutrality regulations into their business plans.