Net neutrality document shows internet to be treated as telecoms utility

12 Mar 2015

After passing the bill that would ensure net neutrality for the US, and effectively much of the world, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued its document outlining the internet as a utility.

Released as part of a 400-page document, the main focus of the report appears to be the FCC’s decision to place high-speed internet under strict regulation in terms of how it can be issued to people by placing it under Title II of the US Communications Act of 1934.

As part of this law, high-speed internet will be placed under a ‘common carrier’ position, whereby every customer must be treated as existing on a level playing field but, of course, is a more updated version of the law which, as the report itself says “is Title II tailored for the 21st century”.

As the executive summary of the document explains, the decision to rule in favour for net neutrality was an obvious one given the FCC felt there was too much power in the hands of broadband providers. “The record reflects that broadband providers hold all the tools necessary to deceive consumers, degrade content, or disfavour the content that they don’t like.”

‘It is a fauxbearance’

However, these companies have obviously offered their criticisms of the decision, claiming the citing of Title II will only give more control to the government to enact new rates or taxes placed on the companies based off a law that is 81 years old.

According to CNet, 100 pages of the 400-page document is spent explaining how certain aspects of the older law will not be taken into account by the FCC tweaking a number of older laws to reflect newer technology.

Meanwhile, one of the commissioners on the FCC, Republican Michael O’Rielly, is still vehemently against the basis of Title II being enacted in this circumstance. “The Commission attempts to downplay the significance of Title II.

“But make no mistake: this is not some make believe modernised Title II light that is somehow tailored to preserve investment while protecting consumers from blocking or throttling. It is fauxbearance.”

FCC HQ image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic