FCC Open Internet Disclosure Rule for ISPs Effective November 20, 2011

The FCC issued its Final Rule on Friday, September 23, 2011 entitled "Preserving the Open Internet".  In the Rule, the FCC seeks to "preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation, investment, job creation, economic growth, competition, and free expression."  To further that goal, the FCC adopted three basic rules for fixed and mobile broadband providers:

  1. Transparency: broadband providers must disclose network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services.
  2. No Blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  3. No Unreasonable Discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.

Although all rules become effective November 20, 2011, the transparency requirement creates an affirmative duty for fixed and mobile broadband providers to disclose certain information on their websites or in their stores by November 20, 2011.  This information includes the disclosure of network practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms. 

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