US regulators ink post-net neutrality enforcement pact - Mobile World Live

US regulators ink post-net neutrality enforcement pact

12 DEC 2017

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlined a plan to work with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to police internet service providers following the FCC’s upcoming vote to repeal net neutrality regulations.

If approved during the FCC’s meeting on Thursday (14 December), the Restoring Internet Freedom order would return regulatory jurisdiction of ISPs, including mobile broadband providers, to the FTC. However, a draft memorandum of understanding released Monday (11 December) indicated both agencies will share responsibility for monitoring ISP compliance with the law.

Under the agreement, the FCC will review consumer complaints to make sure ISPs are disclosing behaviours such as blocking, throttling, paid prioritisation and congestion management, and will take enforcement action if the companies aren’t meeting disclosure requirements. Separately, the FTC will investigate the accuracy of those disclosures and take enforcement action to address “deceptive or unfair acts or practices involving their broadband services”. The pair will also share legal and technical expertise, and collaborate on consumer and industry outreach and education.

Rather than “saddling the internet with heavy-handed regulations,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in statement the agreement will push regulators to “take targeted action against bad actors.”

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, though, disagreed, calling the deal a “confusing, lacklustre, reactionary afterthought” and an “attempt to paper over weaknesses” in the repeal proposal.

Pai’s push to overturn the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality regulations sparked a public outcry in the US, with web companies and consumers alike urging the Commission to reconsider, or at least delay, its vote. Pai defended his proposal, noting the existing rules already allow for “curated” internet packages and claiming “light-touch regulation” will be a boon for investment and competition.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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