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Guide

The Open Internet

Background

One of the most important features of the Internet is its openness: It uses free, publicly available standards that anyone can access and build to, and it treats all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way. This design has made it possible for anyone, anywhere to easily launch innovative applications and services, revolutionizing the way people communicate, participate, create, and do business - think of email, blogs, streaming video, and online shopping. The FCC is focused on ensuring that every American has access to open and robust high-speed Internet service - also known as broadband.

What Is the 'Open Internet?'

The "Open Internet" is the Internet as we know it, a level playing field where consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use, and where consumers are free to decide what content they want to access, create, or share with others. The FCC seeks to ensure that the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation and job creation; to empower consumers and entrepreneurs; to protect free expression; to promote competition; to increase certainty in the marketplace by providing greater predictability for all stakeholders regarding federal policy in this area, and to spur investment both at the "edge," and in the core of our broadband networks.

What is 'Net Neutrality?'

Network, or "net," neutrality is just another way of referring to Open Internet principles.

Does the FCC Regulate Internet Content or Applications?

No, the FCC does not regulate Internet content or applications. To the contrary, the FCC seeks to develop and implement high-level, flexible rules of the road for broadband to ensure that no one - not the government and not the companies that provide broadband service - can restrict innovation on the Internet.

The FCC and the Open Internet

The FCC is currently considering a proposal for rules for the Open Internet that would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted. The proposed rules would ensure:

1. Transparency: That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network

2. No Blocking: That no legal content may be blocked

3. No Unreasonable Discrimination: That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.

For More Information

For more information about the open Internet, see www.fcc.gov/openinternet. For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs website, or contact the FCC's Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

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The Open Internet Guide (pdf)

Updated: July 23, 2014
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