The "Open Internet" is the Internet as we know it. It's open because 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. The principle of the Open Internet is sometimes referred to as "net neutrality." Under this principle, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what lawful content they want to access, create, or share with others. This openness promotes competition and enables investment and innovation.
The Open Internet also makes 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, voice and video conferencing, streaming video, and online shopping. Once you're online, you don't have to ask permission or pay tolls to broadband providers to reach others on the network. If you develop an innovative new website, you don't have to get permission to share it with the world.
On December 23, 2010, the Commission released the Open Internet Order, which established high-level rules requiring transparency and prohibiting blocking and unreasonable discrimination to protect Internet openness. The FCC's rules were challenged in federal court, and on January 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the Commission's authority to regulate broadband Internet access service and upheld the Commission's judgment that Internet openness encourages broadband investment and that its absence could ultimately inhibit broadband deployment. The court upheld the transparency rule, but vacated the no-blocking and no-unreasonable-discrimination rules. The court also invited the FCC to act to preserve a free and open Internet
On February 19, 2014, the Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice establishing a new docket and inviting views on how the Commission should proceed in light of the court's guidance in the Verizon v. FCC opinion. File public comments in the docket.
Under the transparency rule, which remains in full force and effect, broadband Internet access service providers must continue to disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services. This rule helps consumers make informed choices about their broadband service, and it gives edge providers technical information that helps them develop their business plans and assess risks. If you think there has been a violation of the open Internet rules, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
Background, Documents and Other Resources
- Open Internet Explainer
- Internet Growth and Investment Under the Open Internet Order
- Statements on the FCC's Open Internet Rules
- Chairman Wheeler Statement
- Commissioner Clyburn Statement
- Commissioner Rosenworcel Statement
- Commissioner Pai Statement
- Commissioner O'Rielly Statement
- Consumer Guide
- Archive of OpenInternet.gov [.zip file]