On the heels of the FCC’s decision to ban all net neutrality rules on broadband services, a growing number of companies are now making their own attempts to protect net neutrality.
While these efforts may not succeed, there’s one that stands out as particularly notable, and one that is poised to make a lasting impact.
This week, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would end the “common carrier” designation that allows the federal government to regulate the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act.
The FCC will instead apply a new rule that will ensure that ISPs, not just companies, are treated equally under Title I.
Under the new rule, ISPs will not be required to offer a particular kind of broadband service, or to provide any preferential treatment to certain services, such as faster speeds, lower data rates, or the right to block certain websites.
ISPs will be allowed to offer these services on a “federally-neutral” basis, which means they will be treated equally regardless of their origin, size, or type.
The new rule also removes any requirement that broadband providers have to pay for their own broadband infrastructure.
While many of the ISPs that had challenged the FCC order are no longer participating in the open internet debate, they are not entirely content to leave the Internet open.
They are also using their newfound political clout to continue to fight for net neutrality, and are seeking to expand their network to include more consumers, as well as new services.
This new FCC rule, known as the “Open Internet Order,” is expected to be approved by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) next week, and will take effect on January 1.
This will mark the first time the FCC has taken a step back from its original plan to ban net neutrality altogether, but the new rules are already receiving mixed reactions from net neutrality supporters and critics.
While most people are probably unaware of the “net neutrality” battle that has raged since the FCC began its net neutrality rollback, it is actually a very important one.
For nearly three decades, net neutrality has protected consumers and innovators from the kinds of predatory business practices that plague broadband companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
In a free and open Internet, innovation and access are the most valuable assets in the digital economy.
But because of the lack of net neutrality protections in place, these businesses have been able to exploit the Internet for years, using its openness to their own ends.
The FCC’s net neutrality order, which was originally passed in 2015, essentially reclassified Internet access as a common carrier, allowing the government to impose burdensome and unnecessary regulations on the Internet.
This rule also made clear that the FCC was not allowed to force Internet providers to treat all Internet traffic equally, and only allow certain kinds of broadband providers to offer their own services.
The fact that the Internet was reclassified under Title III of the Telecommunications Act in 2016, a year after the FCC issued its original net neutrality rule, meant that the government was free to continue enforcing Title II rules on Internet providers, including the one that had already been enacted.
But that same year, a federal judge in California ruled that the Open Internet Order violated net neutrality laws, ruling that it had been preempted by federal law.
The ruling prompted a massive backlash from net advocates, who argued that the order violated net openness laws and that it violated consumer rights.
The next year, the FCC passed a second net neutrality repeal law, known colloquially as the Title II Repeal Act.
This bill repealed a series of Obama-era regulations that prevented broadband providers from charging different prices for different types of traffic on their networks.
The rules were also meant to protect consumers from predatory businesses that used the Internet to discriminate against them.
The repeal of Title II regulations was controversial among net advocates because it was seen as the FCC giving its power to enforce Title I to broadband providers.
And many net advocates thought that the repeal of the previous rules was a victory for the telecom industry, and that the future of net openness in the United States would look much different if the FCC allowed broadband providers more freedom to operate.
But the repeal bill didn’t pass, and the FCC went back to the drawing board with the Open Connect initiative, which aimed to reclassify Internet access under Title V of the law.
The Open Connect proposal, which included a provision that would allow ISPs to be treated as common carriers, was ultimately vetoed by President Donald Trump.
This decision left open the door for other companies to apply the Open Access principles, which could potentially lead to a more open Internet.
In the last few years, more and more companies have been starting to take steps to protect their users’ rights online, from building out more robust data centers and increasing transparency around their operations, to building out data-centric services, and even launching an online privacy portal.
In fact, the FTC has been working to get the public to participate in the discussion around net neutrality and online privacy for years.
Now, it appears that there is one company that stands to make