POLICY BRIEF: The FCC moves to revive Net Neutrality rules
At its October 2023 open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), by a vote of 3-2, adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on reestablishing Network Neutrality (“net neutrality”) regulations by reclassifying broadband internet service as an essential telecommunications service under Title II of the 1996 Communications Act. This action initiates rulemaking process that will take several months and likely conclude with a formal vote for Title II Reclassification. This will almost certainly be followed by lengthy federal litigation, through which the legality of the new rules will be challenged in court.
The change in classification would allow the FCC to regulate broadband as a utility, like water or electricity. The proposed rules would empower the Commission to regulate internet service providers’ (“ISP”) treatment of their customers by preventing ISPs from blocking, throttling, or unfairly prioritizing certain content or sites. However, the Commission stated in its proposal that it would not implement rate regulation or force network operators to share their network infrastructure with competitors.