An NPRM is a Notice of Proposed Rule-Making.
This is fancy-speak, but basically it describes an announcement that the government agency (in this case the FCC) is considering making rules about an issue (can be anything) and will be giving the public of the US the chance to have their voices heard. This is called a period of public commentary, BUT all comments to be considered must be submitted through an official form (http://www.fcc.gov/comments). For this proposal and your comments, all comments must be submitted by Monday the 15th of September, EOD.
The contents of the NPRM contain three highlighted three rules: keep the Internet “as an open platform enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression, end-user control, competition, and the freedom to innovate without permission.” These “rules” would make transparency on all broadband provider’s practices a requirement. Basic practices include: blocking any lawful website, app or mobile website and the banning of “commercially unreasonable practices.” A reason these practices are emphasized is this: there is no standardized process through which broadband providers can choose which sites and which content can be displayed. As it is, without transparency in these practices, ISPs are left to their own discretion.
But… what do these rules even mean?
The requirement of transparency would make it an obligation for ISPs to share a performance report publicly. This performance report would include necessary information- Internet speed, traffic/congestion, blocking and paid priority agreements. After all, transparency means… just that, transparency!
"No blocking" would keep any ISP from the straightforward blocking of any lawful content or site, for whatever reason. An example: blocking sites of ISPs competitors! Practical, I think.
The last rule mentioned, the banning of commercially unreasonable practices,” has a bit of grey area. It is a tiny step towards the banning of unfair business practices. i.e. slowing down your internet access if a consumer pays for a particular internet speed. Basically, if you pay for a service, you get the service you pay for. Simple.
This blog entry is the second in a short series on net neutrality and how it affects businesses, consumers and society at all levels. It will be an impartial series, stating fact and not bringing opinions to the table. As a blogger for a company, I will remain objective and leave the debates up to the audience!
Links below for pertinent information:
For more information on net neutrality, here’s the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality
To submit comments to the FCC on the new proposal, http://www.fcc.gov/comments
For more information on the proposal itself: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/open-internet
Thanks for reading,