FCC Adopts Net Neutrality Rules, But Implementation Remains Uncertain

As expected, the FCC on Tuesday voted to approve Net neutrality rules designed to prohibit AT&T Inc. and other powerful communications providers from blocking Internet content.

And even though the FCC has yet to release a written order laying out the specific rules, the vote is drawing a firestorm of rhetoric.  

Craig Aaron of the media activist group Free Press blamed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski with endorsing industry-written rules that will for the first time in Internet history allow discrimination online.”

The rules appear to reflect a compromise in an industry rife with conflicting interests.

For far too long, the question of net neutrality has hamstrung the FCC and prevented needed action on far more urgent, and real, problems,” AT&T executive Jim Cicconi opined in a blog posting today. Todays vote, we trust, will put this issue behind us with a compromise that appears to balance major differences despite a number of lingering concerns.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the rules will take effect early next year.

But there is a chance lawsuits or Congress itself could block the FCC order. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison,  R.-Texas, announced plans to introduce a resolution of disapproval in an effort to halt the rules.”

These new regulations will raise uncertainty about the methods and practices communications companies may use to manage their networks, subjecting them to potential legal liability,” said Hutchison, who is the Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee.

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