At its winter meeting in Washington this week, the National
Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners sent the FCC a signal that
it has its own take on how it should implement network neutrality regulations,
which includes applying them to wireless as well as wired broadband.
While the group said it supported such regs, which the FCC has proposed
adopting and expanding, it had a slightly different take on them.
The FCC has proposed codifying its four network openness guidelines and adding
a fifth nondiscrimination principle and a sixth on disclosure (see below).
NARUC supports the four existing principles and the sixth, as well as the fifth
if modified to be an "unreasonable discrimination" principle and
applied uniformly across delivery platforms.
According to a resolution adopted by NARUC, it believes that unrestricted
access to content should be provided without "unreasonable discrimination
as to lawful choice of content." The FCC has called for a
"reasonable network management" carve out, but has used the term
"nondiscriminatory," for its fifth principle, which network operators
are concerned could tip the scales toward preventing some network management
practices necessary to prevent bottlenecks or sustain business models.
But NARUC also made clear what it considers unreasonable discrimination, which
includes "blocking VoIP applications, denying access to political content,
or implementing technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer
software distributing lawful content."
Although the resolution acknowledges that there are differences in
"markets, bandwidth, [and] spectrum resources" among cable, wireless,
wired or application-based services, it also suggests they should all be
subject to whatever network neutrality actions the FCC takes, or Congress if it
passes legislation in that area.
"Notwithstanding these differences, NARUC encourages the FCC and/or
Congress, when crafting rules and regulations in this area to define what
constitutes unreasonable restrictions or unreasonable discrimination, strive to
be as technologically neutral as possible."
NARUC will include its resolution in all FCC filings on the network neutrality
The following are the FCC's four openness principles, which they propose
codifying, plus the two proposed additions:
1. Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet
access service may not prevent any of its users from sending or receiving the
lawful content of the user's choice over the Internet.
2. Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet
access service may not prevent any of its users from running the lawful
applications or using
the lawful services of the user's choice.
3. Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet
service may not prevent any of its users from connecting to and using on its
the user's choice of lawful devices that do not harm the network.
4. Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet
service may not deprive any of its users of the user's entitlement to
among network providers, application providers, service providers, and content
5. Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet
service must treat lawful content, applications, and services in a
6. Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet
service must disclose such information concerning network management and other
practices as is reasonably required for users and content, application, and
providers to enjoy the protections specified in this part."