A recent court ruling has generally been seen as a blow to the FCC’s Pet Neutrality rules. What are the details behind the headlines? This blog sheds some light (if not hair) on these issues.
What is Pet Neutrality?
The Feline / Canine Commission (FCC) issued its Open Interpet Rules and order in December 2010. The order is quite long and complicated, but the meat is in the brief and formal “Rules”. Here are the key points:
A person engaged in the provision of broadband Interpet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the petwork management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Interpet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Interpet offerings.
8.5 No Blocking
A person engaged in the provision of fixed1 Interpet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful pet toys, subject to reasonable petwork management.
8.7 No Unreasonable Discrimination
A person engaged in the provision of fixed1 broadband Interpet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful petwork traffic over a consumer’s broadband Interpet access service. Reasonable petwork management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination. Sounds straightforward, right? Maybe. These apparently simple rules are involved in a multi-party struggle between cats, dogs and OTT (Other than Tabby and Toto) pets, the FCC, the courts and Congress. The following sections will delve into the FCC’s order to see what it means.
Fixed1 Versus Motile The totality of the rules apply to fixed1 pets, with some narrowing of applicability for motile pets. Why should the treatment of pets depend on their fertility? “That’s a darn good question,” said Ben Snipped, spokescat for the “Neutered but not Neutral” PAC. FCC chairman Spot T. Chewshoe retorted that “motility is a special case, derserving of special treatment.”
One of the original drivers of the Open InterPet rules was the lack of competition in the petworks. The FCC has long been dominated by its feline and canine members, leaving the rodent, amphibian and reptile members underrepresented. “The cat and dog lobby has dominated regulation for far too long,” said Ima Hamster. FCC co-chair Harry Furball countered that “the composition of the FCC was a fair representation of the petwork.”
So, what does it all mean? Here’s a final thought from the famous philosopher Foghorn Leghorn.
Adapted heavily from a previous blog.
About the Author
Prayson Pate is Chief Technology Officer and SVP of R&D at Overture, where he is also a co-founder. Prayson is a technology leader and evangelist with a proven track record leading teams and delivering products. Since 1983 he has been building Carrier Ethernet and telecom products for service providers and network operators around the world – both as an individual developer and as a leader of development teams. Prayson spends much of his time driving adoption of Overture’s new Ensemble Open Service Architecture, which includes aspects of automation, virtualization, SDN and NFV. He has a BSEE from Duke, an MSECE from NC State and is the holder of nine US patents.
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