updated 03:05 pm EDT, Thu June 17, 2010
FCC now sees neutrality rules as necessary
The FCC today said (PDF) it had voted 3-2 in favor of beginning procedures to reclassify Internet access and take action on its proposed National Broadband Plan. Officials plan to go ahead with their initial plans and are asking for comments both from the public and from the industry by July 15. First replies from the FCC to the comments should be ready by August 12.
Many of the rule changes center around applying key aspects of the Title II common carrier rules that would most apply to Internet access. Internet providers, possibly including cellphone networks, would be required to treat all traffic fairly as well as protect privacy. They would deliberately exempt rules that would meet the stiffest opposition from carriers, such as price regulation or having to directly share local lines with rival providers.
Most incumbent carriers have still resisted the rules as they have insisted they should have full control over what's allowed on their networks and have claimed there would be a slippery slope towards stricter regulation in the future. Some have threatened to deliberately slow down their expansion as a form of punishment, but Time Warner and independents have shown support for the FCC rules.
Congress has embraced the FCC's plans but has said it may pass new laws of its own that could affect any decisions.