October 22nd, 2009
06:24 PM ET
5 years ago

FCC proposes new rules of the road for the Internet

FCC proposes new rules of the road for the Internet.
FCC proposes new rules of the road for the Internet.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Federal Communications Commission took the first step Thursday in a process intended to formalize and further define principles governing management of the Internet's infrastructure by the nation's broadband access service providers.

The federal agency published two pages of proposed rules which the FCC says are intended "to preserve the open Internet," an approach to the nation's information super highway that seeks to make access open to all under fair and equal conditions.

In a statement announcing its proposal, commonly termed "net neutrality," the FCC explained its aims in drafting the new rules.

"In addition to providing greater predictability for all stakeholders, the [proposed rules are] aimed at securing the many economic and social benefits that an open Internet has historically provided," the agency's statement says, "[The proposal] seeks to do so in a manner that will promote and protect the legitimate needs of consumers, broadband Internet access service providers, entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses of all sizes that make use of the Internet."


The rules propose that broadband access providers be prohibited from: preventing users from sending or receiving lawful content, preventing users from running lawful applications or using lawful services, and preventing users from connecting to or using lawful devices that do not harm the network. The proposal also seeks to benefit users by preserving competition between providers of network access, applications, services, and content.

And, under the new rules awaiting approval, broadband access providers would be required to treat all lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory way, and access providers would have to disclose to users information about their practices for managing their broadband networks. The proposed rules announced Thursday permit broadband access providers to engage in reasonable efforts to manage traffic and congestion on their networks.

All five commissioners voted in favor of publishing the proposed rules and seeking input from the public. But the two Republican appointees said that they did not believe there was sufficient evidence to support the specific approaches favored by the agency's Democratic majority.

The FCC's proposal has revealed differences within the Democratic Party about whether the Internet should be regulated. In anticipation of the FCC's proposal being formally rolled out Thursday, 10 Democratic senators sent a letter to the FCC chairman expressing their support for "net neutrality."

Last week, a group of 72 House Democrats wrote to the FCC chairman suggesting that the agency reconsider its plans for new rules governing the Internet. The letter was signed by several members of the Blue Dog coalition, a group of conservative Democrats largely from rural congressional districts, and by several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, many of whom represent urban areas across the country.

On Thursday, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, introduced "The Internet Freedom Act of 2009," a bill that would prohibit the FCC for enacting rules regulating the Internet.

Click here to read the FCC's proposal.


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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Dylan Smith

    The last thing we need is for the morons at the FCC to have control over anything.

    October 22, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Matt

    Oh great, Obama and his cronies are meddling with freedom of speech as it pertains to the internet. Net Neutral is just a way for the government to stretch its reach into the web.

    Vote any bozo that supports this out.

    October 22, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. malclave

    So, the federal government is adding even more regulations in the name of freedom.

    October 22, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Matt

    Censorship is alive and well and the crazy part it that the so called "News" companies will go along with Obama on this and not realize they are cutting their own throat.

    October 22, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. hmmmm

    It's all about power and control.
    If the GOV can control the internet, the media, the banks, the insurance companies, the healthcare,the car companies, the unions doesn't this sound like a socialist government to you? It does to me.

    October 22, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Jasmine in Germany

    John McCain? You mean the same fellow who admitted he had no idea about and never used the Internet a year ago? Of course, the Internet will require regulation. Perhaps the US can take up communication with more advanced Internet countries, for example; Finland. While they're at it, they can talk to South Korea, too.

    October 22, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need net neutrality so it lets the small business compete with giants that can muscle over them like Wal-Mart that forces other business to ship their jobs over seas.

    I don't want to have to worry about having to pay more or look harder to find places that I like because they can't afford to have their information sent at a higher speed.

    October 22, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. Gee

    Sooooo, It seems this administration is not done taking over the privatee sector just yet.....now they want to control what goes on with the internet....we really are plummeting down a path to Socialism....or maybe worse. Its time to vote all of these creeps out of office and take back our country....

    October 22, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  9. justin

    FCC are a bunch of idiots. Whatever they do is scary. I don't even need to read whatever their 2 pages (really only 2 pages) has to say.

    October 22, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Could this possibly be another Obama Agenda powergrab?

    October 22, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Kevin Parris

    Democrat's think that they can change everything in two years...and that it cant be undone......what's going to happen when Americans rise up against all of you....and don’t pay back all your ill spent money to china and middle east....and when we refuse to get health insurance at all and just go to the emergency room like all these illegal’s are doing......being from the south we have been isolated and neglected since the civil war.....I know how to hunt, fish, farm, and if need be defend my home from any oppressor foreign or domestic......I don’t need middle east gas, or china's goods to live a full and happy life. And neither will my son's or their son's...

    October 22, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Angie

    I hope the American people really think about this one.......Do we really want the government monitoring our internet use? Talk about "Big Brother"!!

    October 22, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. Ryan

    This is going to blow Republicans' minds... because it's about the computer-machine... which they have never had a handle on.

    October 22, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  14. 'RUB' THE CLOWN

    "America" is breathing again, alive and well and marching into the new century

    October 22, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. Robert

    government stay away from our internet !!!!

    we need something that is free !! not government controled

    October 22, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |