Timeline of the FCC and Broadband

Posted February 26, 2014 at 4:26pm

Aug. 5, 2005 — The Federal Communications Commission adopts a policy statement that consumers are entitled to: access their choice of legal Internet content, use services and run applications of their choosing, and have competition among network, application, service and content providers.

April 6, 2010 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in Comcast v. FCC, strikes down an order by the FCC to Comcast that contended that the company violated the agency’s Internet policy statement by interfering with Internet subscribers’ access to peer-to-peer applications.

Dec. 21, 2010 — The FCC adopts, 3-2, its “Open Internet” order that required broadband providers to disclose their network management practices and barred them from blocking legal traffic on their networks. The rules also barred fixed broadband providers from unreasonably discriminating traffic. This requirement did not apply to wireless broadband providers.

Jan. 14, 2014 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decides in Verizon v. FCC that the FCC had authority under Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to encourage deployment of broadband infrastructure and that this empowered it to regulate how broadband providers treat Internet traffic. At the same time, it struck down the agency’s 2010 rules that barred broadband providers from blocking content or unreasonably discriminating the flow of traffic on their networks.

Given the way the FCC had classified broadband services, the agency couldn’t regulate broadband as a common carrier, the court said, and the FCC hadn’t shown that those rules weren’t basically common carrier regulations. The court maintained the FCC’s transparency rule.

Feb. 19, 2014 — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announces that the agency would not appeal the federal court’s decision, but instead would pursue new rule-making on the no-blocking and anti-discrimination rules that the federal court struck down.