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Open Internet Explainer

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Released: February 19, 2014

The FCC is Acting to Protect an Open Internet

Today, FCC Chairman Wheeler announced his commitment to proposing new rules of the road for the
Internet to protect consumers and entrepreneurs, and ensure the Internet remains a platform for
innovation and freedom of expression.

Why is the FCC taking action now?

In January, a federal court struck down two rules from an Order the FCC adopted in 2010, called the
Open Internet Order, meant to ensure that high-speed Internet Service Providers (“broadband providers”)
treat all Internet traffic equally and fairly.

What rules were struck down?

The court struck down rules that barred broadband providers from blocking legal content, applications
and services, and barred fixed broadband providers (generally speaking, non-mobile broadband providers)
from unreasonably discriminating among legal Internet traffic.

Why is an anti-blocking rule important?

Broadband providers furnish consumers with an on-ramp to the Internet. We need to ensure that they do
not exploit that role through blocking or creating barriers to lawful content, websites or services.

Why about anti-discrimination?

We need to ensure that broadband providers don't discriminate against legal Internet traffic or businesses
online, giving some preferred treatment, in ways that harm consumers or the economy.

How can the FCC propose rules if the Court struck them down?

The court affirmed the FCC’s authority to govern broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic. In
fact, the court upheld the conclusion that without rules of the road, broadband providers could harm
consumers and the economy. Today, the FCC laid out a path forward to propose new rules of the road that
will ensure the Internet remains a platform for innovation and freedom of expression.

What will be different about your new rules of the road?

The FCC’s new rules of the road will protect consumers and the economy while following the legal
guidance laid out by the court.

Why is an Open Internet important?

Because broadband companies provide the only access consumers and businesses have to the Internet, it
is critical that they abide by rules of the road meant to preserve the Open Internet for all. In addition,
investment and innovation have flourished under the Open Internet rules. The FCC will seek public
comment on rules of the road for protecting and promoting the Open Internet in the coming months.
February 19, 2014

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