The US Federal Communications Commission has approved new net neutrality rules for internet service providers. After its previous ‘Open Internet’ rules were struck down twice on court appeal, the regulator proposed new, tougher rules, drawing on the existing regulation of fixed telephony and backing from US President Barack Obama. The new order notably reclassifies internet access as a telecommunications service, as defined under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This gives the FCC greater authority to regulate internet providers.
The new rules also ban paid prioritization, where a service provider can pay the network operator for preferred access to end-users, as well as prohibit blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. These rules will also apply to internet services over mobile networks. The FCC’s authority also is extended to interconnection agreements between network and content providers, allowing it hear complaints and settle disputes.