More than a month after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sent the Open Internet Order to his fellow commissioners, the document is now available to the public.
The FCC today posted a 400-page document to its website. The release is coupled with statements from Wheeler and the four other FCC commissioners.
Public availability of the Order comes after the FCC already approved the measure on a partisan 3-2 vote. Commissioner Ajit Pai, who voted against the Order and has been vocal opponent of the new regulations, issued several statements criticizing the Commission for not making public the Order before the FCC’s vote on the matter.
In the Order’s introduction, the FCC describes the open Internet rules from four years ago, aimed toward protecting the “virtuous cycle” driving investment and innovation, and the broadband innovation, particularly around video streaming, that followed.
“The lesson of this period, and the overwhelming consensus on the record, is that carefully-tailored rules to protect Internet openness will allow investment and innovation to continue to flourish,” the FCC wrote.
But Internet service providers including AT&T and Verizon Wireless, who now find their mobile broadband services under the scope of Title II classification, do not share that optimism about the new regulations.
Those companies have promised to meet the new rules with legal action and have asserted that the years of litigation will likely create an environment of uncertainty that will negatively impact network investments.
“Unfortunately, the order released today begins a period of uncertainty that will damage broadband investment in the United States. Ultimately, though, we are confident the issue will be resolved by bipartisan action by Congress or a future FCC, or by the courts,” AT&T SVP of External and Legal Affairs Jim Cicconi said in a statement.
After the FCC approved the Order, Verizon responded with a statement in Morse code in order to illustrate its belief that the new rules harkened back to the 1930s regulations that governed early telephone services.
Meanwhile, carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint have issued more relaxed responses. Sprint insists light touch regulation can come from the new rules as long as mobile operators are provided the flexibility to manage traffic on their networks. T-Mobile has refrained from blasting the rules until it has the opportunity to carefully review the Order.
But as Pai noted Thursday in his dissenting comments, T-Mobile’s popular Music Freedom program, which allows customers to stream music without it impacting their data plans, could be on the chopping block.
Filed Under: Industry regulations