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New Rules for an Open Internet

December 21st, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Julius GenachowskiAlmost everyone seems to agree that the openness of the Internet is essential -- it has unleashed an enormous wave of innovation, economic growth, job creation, small business generation, and vibrant free expression.

But for too long, the freedom and openness of the Internet has been unprotected. No rules on the books to protect basic Internet values. No process for monitoring Internet openness as technology and business models evolve.

No recourse for innovators, consumers, or speakers harmed by improper practices. And no predictability for Internet service providers, so that they can effectively manage and invest in broadband networks.

Earlier today, that all changed.

As a result of a vote, which was just taken by the FCC, we have -- for the first time -- enforceable rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness.

The rules we have adopted are straightforward, and they enshrine a set of key principles.

First, consumers and innovators have a right to know the basic performance characteristics of their Internet access and how their network is being managed. We have adopted a transparency rule that will give consumers and innovators the clear and simple information they need to make informed choices in choosing networks or designing the next killer app.

Second, consumers and innovators have a right to send and receive lawful traffic -- to go where they want, say what they want, experiment with ideas -- commercial and social, and use the devices of their choice. Our new rules thus prohibit the blocking of lawful content, apps, services, and the connection of devices to the network.

Third, consumers and innovators have a right to a level playing field. No central authority, public or private, should have the power to pick winners and losers on the Internet; that’s the role of the commercial market and the marketplace of ideas.

That is why we adopted a ban on unreasonable discrimination. And we are making clear that so-called “pay for priority” arrangements involving fast lanes for some companies but not others are unlikely to be allowed.

The rules also recognize that broadband providers need meaningful flexibility to manage their networks to deal with congestion, security, and other issues. And we recognize the importance and value of business-model experimentation, such as tiered pricing.

These rules fulfill many promises, including a promise to the future – a promise to the companies that don’t yet exist, and the entrepreneurs who haven’t yet started work in their dorm rooms or garages.

Today, the FCC did the right thing for the future of Internet freedom, and I look forward to building on today’s roles as the FCC continues its work to promote innovation, investment, and job creation, and to improve the lives of the American people through communications technology.

41 Responses to “New Rules for an Open Internet”

  1. Tom says:

    The question we the people and the FCC should ask is: Is the FCC still needed today?
    Just what is there job? Who does the FCC work for? How much can we save in tax money with no FCC?
    Will the Radio Talk Shows be next?
    One only look to the USPS (The Mail) to see Gov. at work! Real piece of work there, every try to buy stamps at lunch time?

    If you need another job Mr. FCC go to our Southern Border and help SEAL IT!

  2. Guest says:

    bureaucratse finger to people they are supposed to serve, how soviet of you !

  3. Guest says:

    "As a result of a vote, which was just taken by the FCC" Are you trying to make it sound like this was democracy in action? What is this "vote"? We the people didn't vote, neither did our representatives in congress. Who is the FCC to vote on this?

  4. Guest says:

    If you wanted to do something useful you could crack down on SPAM e-mail. What you did is not useful, except to big companies provide internet access.

  5. Guest says:

    Another example of the government intervening where it isn't necessary (or wanted).

    If the government would spend some of its time determining how to operate more efficiently with less regulation you could cut the number of federal employees needed thereby reducing spending.

    We the people, don't need your so called solutions. Listen to the people!!!

  6. Guest says:

    Again BIG BROTHER emerges! If I want to live somewhere that watches every move I make, every phone call I make, everything I watch on TV, everything I go to on the net, I would move to Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela. This is the United States. Get off our back Government! We the PEOPLE have awakened. You will not succeed with your socialist takeover of US!

    We don't need you in our lives. We are capable of taking care of ourselves without your intervention. LEAVE US AND OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS ALONE!!!!!

  7. Guest says:

    Who gave you the authority to do anything to the internet? Congress said "no" to this type of thing! Since congress didn't give you the authority you just took it! You are regulating a problem that does not exist! Take your regulation back or come the next election we will put in people who will! I see everyone on this blog agrees, stay out of the internet. It is open, and you are only going to close down free access to it not increase access! It’s just another Obama grab for power. This agency is out dated and unnecessary any way. Why don't you help this government by closing down and giving the money saved to decreasing the debt!

  8. Guest says:

    "Pay for Priority" should not be allowed at all. Many prefer the idea of a profit model that places a premium on bandwidth. This notion is driven by greed and nothing more. A truly neutral Internet places no restrictions on what content is delivered over what pipes.

  9. Guest says:

    ou internet is GREAT! do not tinker with it at this point for crying out loud.

  10. Guest says:

    these rules are decent start I'm happy to hear this

  11. Barry Blackard says:

    The internet is working and the government will screw it up; leave us alone.

    The whole world uses the internet. Millions of people all over the world depend on the internet for their livelihood and we have already had a taste of Obamas regulations. This will also cause many countries to be very concerned about the United States having too much control and how it affects their national security. The more regulations the FCC puts on the internet the more tension there will be with other countries. The FCC thinks it has the power to control and if this continues the FCC could intentionally or unintentionally cause a worldwide crisis with regulations. This is a very dangerous move for the Obama Administration. It could also give hackers more reasons for cyber-attacks or the first “cyber war”. I don’t think these people have any clue about the consequences this will have.

    Call your Senators and House Representatives and tell them to stop this madness now.

  12. Guest says:

    Almost everyone agrees -- leave the Internet alone. There is no need to restrict communication or place any rules over what is transmitted over the Internet.

  13. Julian Kussman says:

    What you have done today is give the corporations free reign to push whatever message they feel is right to the consumer.

    The internet must be free and unrestricted.

  14. Guest says:

    Your little story here is a lie; Everyone knows you sold us all out today - It is all over the net. Thanks for nothing you beauracratic jerk. You have once again proven the obvious; graduating at the top of your class at Harvard does not automatically impart you with any real knowledge.

  15. Guest says:

    "New Rules for an Open Internet" Sounds like a Oxymoron.

  16. Guest says:

    Here is the issue: "And no predictability for Internet service providers, so that they can effectively manage and invest in broadband networks."
    ISP's are going to totally screw us the consumer...we are already under financial pressure and now in order to view something be it a video, music or even attaching to my corporate office from home and using x amount of their bandwidth (which is what I pay for already) they will charge more and more, we will be nickled and dimed to death... why can't you see this.
    If i want to view youtube to see my sons baseball -Bam, i get hit for $5 bucks and then to attach to work and transfer large update file that can be gigs upon gigs of data, Bam, ftp charges to port 21 are $200 a month, think it won't happen. Just watch. This is going to hurt this country. You guys must be buds with John Cornyn of TX, he has about the same intellect.
    Please repeal this while you can or do whatever you can to reverse it. Acting like you are doing us a favor by "fixing" something that is NOT broke is insane. Leave us alone... This government is really pissing people off and i mean big time.
    Do the right thing and do what is right for us, not putting money yours and big business ie Time Warner pockets. Give me a break! :( sad days ahead for us all!

  17. Bruce says:

    Keep your hands out of the internet. It is doing fine as it is, with you people getting involved with it, you will surely ruinit. The socialist way of rugulating peoples lives will cost the taxpayers and consumers more. You are looking for another way of taxing Americans for a service, stay out. If you want to do something good, have local, state and federal kill the taxes they are charging for having a cell phone, phone lines to your home, etc etc. You have NOTHING to do with those lines, you NEVER put the lines in the ground, you NEVER produce a thing, all you want is to regulate and tax...GET OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!!!

  18. Tim Roberts says:

    You work for me. This premise is the logic that justifies any government at all. I know you know you are deceitful. We all know this. By this premise you have broken your ethical contract as a government official. You and others like you that pervert our government shall be stricken down for your insolence. You shall be stricken down for your crimes against humanity. Thieves like you must be removed for this government to work. there are many of us and few of you. You are a disgrace to humanity and we all know this. The FCC is a disgrace to humanity. Shame on you "big brother" and your disregard for this beautiful world.

  19. Mike Huckle says:

    Dear FCC - These rules are not needed, have not been requested by the public at large, and serve the interests of a few. The FCC has displayed (yet another) overreaching grab for power.

    The internet is NOT restricted and that is what makes it unique and open in the first place. My suggestion is NONCOMPLIANCE with your rules, to all whom you seek to impose them on.

  20. Guest says:

    Too bad freedom will disappear with your interference! Stay the heck out of our lives, we do not need you to protect us!

  21. Jon says:

    Notice how there are no comments saying this is a good thing. My earlier comment was deleted, most likely due to profanity......

  22. Guest says:

    It has not been all that long ago that we financed Radio Free Europe. How long will it be, with this type of regulation, before someone will have to start Internet Free United States. We complained about censorship in China, yet we are pushing censorship here in the United States.

    What right does a few "regulators" have to enforce these changes and force free Americans to comply. Where will it end? We are moving towards a fascist state.

  23. Guest says:

    Tiered pricing is not freedom. You have done a great disservice to the people. Thank you for giving the large corporations what they wanted.

  24. Pezell says:

    This is a overstep of both the FCC's mission and is going to create the situation it is supposedly supposed to prevent.

    The FCC is just looking for another area to regular as they loose power as the areas of current oversight are less and less used by the average American consumer. The audacity of this move and the lack of reality when it comes to the practices it desires to put in place will end up denying the public free access to the internet - its not broken right now, its not in immanent potential of changing.

    The statement that this helps the web development community is a joke - please ask us, we don't think this is a good idea. But wait you didn't ask us, you ignored everyone.

  25. jake says:

    What happened to transparent gov, lost at obama's desk again. well the People are getting more angrier all the time,just read what is being said . soon very soon the response will be very interesting,if the you the government continue to go against the will of the people.
    Just sayin.

  26. Guest says:

    Tried to post this governent annoucemant at youtube and they refused to allow it and blocked it . they are waging a censorship war against anyone that tries to comment or speak about this ffc ruling. we need help many users at youtube are being censored and threaten by closing their accts if they attempt to post or comment on the ruling.

  27. Katrina Joyce says:

    Do you honestly believe the crap you're spewing?

    For all the people that use the internet, there are a handful of companies. Instead of protecting us, the consumers, you're giving perks to the big wig companies that already charge us too much money for information. "Tiered-pricing" will only drive a bigger wedge inbetween the "have" and "have-not."

    You contradict yourself, plenty. First you say that "so-called “pay for priority” arrangements involving fast lanes for some companies but not others are unlikely to be allowed," and then you say "we recognize the importance and value of business-model experimentation, such as tiered pricing." That's extremely contradicting.

    If you want a truly free internet, then guess what? That means no rules. Your arbitrary rules and regulations do nothing but censor the internet.

    I, as a citizen of this country, actually value my freedom, and in case you've forgotten, the First Amendment still has the free speech clause in it. I like my right to free speech, but after 8 years of President Bush and his thumbing at the nose of the American public with the Patriot Act, and you essentially taking our rights to net neutrality away, I sometimes wonder if politicians like you even give a damn about our rights, or are you simply protecting your meal ticket.

    The key word in the phrase "net neutrality" is "neutrality" or "neutral." Neutral means you take no sides, whether law-abiding or not. This is the complete opposite of net neutrality. This is net tyranny.

  28. Guest says:

    Hello, I would like to see the final rules document. Where can the public download and read the document in its entirety? Will the request require leverage from the Freedom of Information Act? Please advise. Thank you.

  29. Guest says:

    How many new government jobs, at tax payer expense, did you create FCC? New regulations which no one wanted. You went around the courts and around congress to increase your own power. Do what you can for now; but know this, even if we have to go back to hamm radios, there will always be free speech and people out there will find a way to get the message out as to how our government is no long listening to the wants of its people. Just read the above post. Hope you are proud of yourself. And all of you that sold out for a job in the new FCC "power grab"; I ask: Where is your honor? Integrity? Respect for freedom?

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  31. wqerty says:

    This is my personal opinion: I agree with most of what is said. The only problem I have with it is because this had passed, who decides what is "lawful traffic."

    For example, the age of concent in Alaska is 16 years old. If I was to start a porn buisness hosted and based up there with girls of the age 16-18, given only that legal fact, my actions would be legal. In most other states however it is a felony offence to have porn of a 16 year old on your computer, thereby being "unlawful traffic."

    As another example, if I was to be given some classified documents that were leaked out of the United Kingdom about UFOs over the internet. It would be legal of me to read, write, and distribute that information in any means I please. However, there are laws in the UK against the receipt of classified material, thereby creating it unlawful.

    My stance is this. The internet is a free flowing democracy created by who ever is currently logged in. If I decide to develop a vew means of streaming video I, like netflix, will require a new plugin to view the material. Also if I create a new audio filetype (or codec) and poroduce videos that utilize the codec I have the right to sell that script and distribute it as I please. If someone is out there watching the validity of my traffic, and STEALING my scripts to ensure the legality of the content I am producing, I say BOO TO YOU!!! At the same time I do believe in ISPs not discriminating, I also do not like the fact that the FCC is trying to take over the W3C or any other private (and world run) system already in place....

    It is a sad day in american histroy that this passed with the stupid little loopholes in there

  32. Guest says:

    The FCC sold the public a Lie. I will continue to fight for NET Neutrality.

  33. Guest says:

    Many of those here that are yelling to "keep away from the INTERNET" and things like that must be very ill informed as to whats been going on, and hard their heads in the sand.
    AT&T, Com cast and the others had plans, and in some cases were, and planning to monopolies the INTERNET. They were gong to make people pay a premium to do business with the consumer. And in some case, provide a competing service, and edge out the others. SO you would be forced to use the INTERNET cos, or nothing at all. They were also going to force out INTERNET phone providers in favor of their own product that was going to cost you a LOT more money.
    Sometime, the government need to take preventative measures when there is a threat. The republicans seemed to think it was OK when Bush was doing things like that, making war against other before they were supposed to do something to us. But when the democrats try to do the same thing that has shown a real threat, they cry fowl. You all never stop amazing me.

  34. Zachary Mentz says:

    What happened to democracy? Why isn't this regulation passed down by a duly elected congress instead of a non-elected appointee? Regardless to whether this should be legal, within the framework of the constitution, it's up to the legislative body to create laws--certainly not the FCC. How can you justify this? Who are you?? I certainly didn't vote for you nor did anyone on this continent.

    With the new congress looking for ways to cut government spending, I hope you know you've just bared your neck to have the FCC be next on the chopping block with such an unconstitutional and ridiculous grab for power. We will defund the FCC and hold you, Julius, responsible.

    For you, the poor worker who is moderating these comments, your boss just sold you down the river. Keep that in mind when he's smiling at you and bragging at the holiday party about this great accomplishment.

  35. Guest says:

    You are a spineless coward, and you have failed.

  36. Ben Schainker says:

    Every other developed country provides their citizens with more bandwidth at less cost than the United States provides its citizens. In other words their Internet is better than ours. And yet, the United States Government invented the Internet that every country now uses.

    Why are other Countries benefiting more than we are from the Internet our Government invented?

    Because, other Governments REGULATE the Corporations which are given the privilege of providing their Citizens with access to the Internet.

    Other Countries FORCE Corporations to give their Citizens MORE for LESS.

    In the United States, our Government allows Corporations to take MORE, and give us LESS.

    Julius Genachowski, stop crowing. You have achieved No victory. Having betrayed the American people and your duty as a Public Official, you have no right to paint your failure as an achievement.

    We have a true yardstick to measure you:
    Give us faster internet than France or Switzerland. Give it to us cheaper than South Korea or Japan.

    Give it to us now! Or do the honorable thing and resign.

    But whatever you do, stop this Orwellian farce. Destroying our future while claiming to be our hero. It is a disgrace.

    Ben Schainker

  37. Jo says:

    I was just about to launch an online business, but thanks to this action of yours, I have been diverted to another method. Glad I didn't make the substantial investment only to find within the next year or two that resultant costs would make my product unaffordable to the market for which it is intended. I'll just go where you have no business being. You can guess where. I won't give you any help.



    You might consider how well you're doing with what you're presently involved. Not such good marks, I'd say.

  38. Guest says:

    These rules are not needed, have not been requested by the public at large, and serve the interests of a few.

    Tiered pricing is not freedom. You have done a great disservice to the people.

    You have giving the large corporations what they wanted.

    Congress said no, the Courts said no, the First Amendment guarantees us Freed on Speech, but you ignoring all opposition from We the People.

    It truly is a sad day in American history that this passed with large corporations winning.

    The key word in the phrase "net neutrality" is "neutrality" or "neutral." Neutral means you take no sides.

    In a truly free society knowledge is not restricted in any form and you have just restricted us the people.

  39. Stanley says:

    Great to hear! After the Google-Verizon announcement earlier this year, I was starting to question whether the greatest tool for communication and democracy since the printing press would endure under such pressure.

    Obviously, I still have lots of questions. I'm anxious to read the rules themselves and hope that some of the bad apples from the Google-Verizon deal (like loopholes for proprietary "internet services" and mobile devices) have been tossed out before they spoil the rest.


  40. Guest says:

    This is just the first of many steps for the Progressives to take over our country so that we will lose all our freedoms that our forfathers fought so hard to get for us. The FCC does not have the power to do this without Congressional approval and now we the people have to fight to get it into the courts and get this ridiculous move that they made eradicated. We can't let this happen.

  41. Fred Yates says:

    Congress said no, the Courts said no, the First Amendment guarantees us Freed on Speech, but you ignoring all opposition from We the People and two branches of our Government bow to the desires of Pres. Obama attempt once again to limit our access to both side of any issue.

    In a truly free society knowledge is not restricted. Our government is not open and transparent, is is closed and secretive. You are not a friend of the people, you are an oppressor, you desire a socialist state, not a republic.

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