Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FCC's official "Report and Order" available; some lingering uncertainty about its real intentions, according to EFF

Electronic Frontier Foundation has provided a link to a pdf of the FCC’s “Net Neutrality rules” as adopted December 21, 2010, with link (website url) here. It’s titled “In the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet Broadband Industry Practices”, then “Report and Order”.

The report does distinguish among a variety of companies and providers. There are ISP’s which provide cable broadband and/or wireless service to homes and small businesses (and large entities); there are web hosts which enable individuals to network and self-publish (often with shared hosting) on the web, sometimes for fee, sometimes with free services (supported by secondary advertising revenue); some companies may provide both. Because the mix of services varies so much, public policy must be flexible, too. On p 118, the report mentions the 2007 Economic Census (just recently published, according to footnote), which considers, among other things, who actually owns the broadband access channels and provides the networking services. (As I have noted on the “BillBoushka” blog, that is something that matters in determining who can register as a “Copyright Agent” for DMCA safe harbor notification purposes.)

EFF has a summary article dated Dec. 27, “2010 Trend to Watch: Net Neutrality”, link here. EFF notes that the FCC is having to rethink its “authority” given a recent federal court ruling involving the FCC’s intervention in Comcast’s handling of BitTorrent. It fears a “Trojan horse” effect where neutrality is warped to favor establishment interests, particularly in the media business.

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