Net Neutrality

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On April 25, 2024, the FCC adopted a Declaratory Ruling, Order, Report and Order, and Order on Reconsideration (Open Internet Order) restoring FCC oversight of broadband internet access service (BIAS) as a telecommunications service under its Title II authority. The full text of the Open Internet Order was released on May 7, 2024, reestablishing FCC regulation and net neutrality rules. The FCC states that the Open Internet Order reinstates its authority over BIAS in a narrowly tailored fashion, without rate regulation, tariffing, or unbundling to foster continued innovation and investment. In addition, the Open Internet Order forbears from requiring BIAS providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.  The rules established in Open Internet Order also would:

* Prevent broadband service providers from blocking traffic, slowing down content, or creating pay-to-play internet fast lanes.

* Provide oversight of broadband outages. Restoring Title II authority will bolster the FCC’s ability to require providers to address internet outages.

* Boost the security of broadband networks by providing the FCC the authority to revoke the authorizations of foreign-owned entities that pose a threat to national security to operate broadband networks in the U.S.

* Establish rules to address internet openness, network resiliency and reliability, transparency requirements, and basic consumer privacy protections.

* Create a national standard by which the FCC can ensure that broadband internet service is treated as an essential service.

Not surprisingly, leading up to the adoption of the Open Internet Order, the level of comments and opinions filed by interested Parties was voluminous and many commenters took exception to aspects of the FCC’s approach. In addition, in response to a Draft version of the Open Internet Order circulated by the FCC in early April, 2024, 41 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel expressing their opposition to the reclassification of BIAS as a telecommunications service under Title II. The letter questions the FCC’s authority to reclassify BIAS from an information service to a telecommunications service, however, the FCC’s adoption of the Open Internet Order indicates that the FCC believes otherwise.

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