Cable Digital News Analysis 
Friday, Oct 23rd, 2009
When it comes to proposed rules of the road governing the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has agreed to disagree.
This morning, the FCC unanimously approved a draft set of network neutrality rules aimed at “preserving a free and open Internet,” but the two Republican commissioners dissented in part, because they aren’t entirely convinced that the Internet is broken nor that the government is best cast in the role of Mr. Fix-It.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will focus on six core “principles.” The FCC established the first four in 2005 when it issued a net neutrality Policy Statement saying network operators can’t prevent users from accessing lawful Internet content. The statement also says consumers can attach “non-harmful” devices to an ISP network.
The two new principles are: non-discrimination (to ensure that service providers “cannot block or degrade lawful traffic over their networks”) and transparency (a rule that will require broadband ISPs to fully disclose how they are managing their broadband networks and how those techniques could affect customers). (See FCC Chairman Pushes for Net Neutrality Rules .)
The FCC stressed that the proposal allows broadband service providers to use “reasonable network management techniques,” but the final rules will help determine what will and won’t be allowed.