Maybe the FCC thinks the US has had enough tech innovation. If it does, then its decision to impose utility-style regulation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) appears to be right on track; at least one ISP says the regulations are delaying new services.
What’s this about? Early in 2015, the FCC adopted Title II regulations for ISPs. In doing so the agency embraced a regulatory framework designed initially for railroads in the 1800s, which was then adapted about a century ago for monopoly utilities – which telephone companies once were. Exactly how the FCC would impose these regulations on the Internet has remained vague, but the agency’s plan includes:
- A prohibition on ISP’s offering fast lanes (no turnpikes or HOV lanes);
- Case-by-case restrictions on ISPs doing things that the FCC thinks might unreasonably interfere with customers’ access to content (this is in addition to an outright ban on blocking lawful content);
- Restrictions on network management practices that have an underlying business purpose;
- Prohibitions on unjust and unreasonable interconnection arrangements;
- A promise that the FCC is keeping “a close eye on any tactics that could undermine” the FCC’s rules.