NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Open Internet

Providing Consumers a Vibrant Online Experience

Internet service providers (ISPs) have always been committed to and offered American consumers a powerful, open internet experience so they can enjoy the web content, services and applications of their choosing. The broadband industry has embraced and fostered the development of an open internet where companies do not block, throttle or otherwise interfere with the customer’s desire to go wherever they want on the internet. 

The Time is Now for
Bipartisan Legislation

ISPs Commit to an Open Internet

Since the early 2000’s, policymakers and regulators have debated the best way to ensure that the open internet can be protected, yet we still don’t have a permanent solution. Only Congress has the power to conclusively settle this debate and provide the FCC with clear authority to enforce open internet principles. It is time for bipartisan legislation that will permanently enshrine enforceable open internet principles in statute without jeopardizing the investment need to build and maintain next generation networks. Such action will allow everyone to move beyond endless partisan debate and allow consumers and industry to have certainty.

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michael powell
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The net neutrality issue is caught in an infinite loop. It is high time to debug this debate—avoiding approaches that will only perpetuate it—and reach a bipartisan resolution that puts in place a sound and enforceable set of rules."

Michael Powell President & CEO, NCTA

Internet Regulation Timeline

A timeline of internet regulations from the late 1990s until today.

  • 1999

    July 20, 1999

    FCC Chairman Kennard, appointed by President Clinton, establishes a policy of a light regulatory touch for the Internet’s early days.

  • 2002

    March 14, 2002

    FCC Chairman Michael Powell classifies broadband internet access as a Title I interstate information service.

  • 2003

    June 5, 2003

    Law professor Tim Wu coins the term “net neutrality” in his paper “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination.”

  • 2004

    February 28, 2004

    FCC Chairman Powell introduces “Four Internet Freedoms,” Freedom to (1) access content; (2) run applications; (3) attach devices; (4) obtain service plan information.

  • 2005

    March 3, 2005

    The FCC negotiates an agreement with Madison River Communication where Madison River agrees to “refrain from blocking” phone calls.

    June 27, 2005

    In FCC vs. Brand X, the Supreme Court upholds FCC’s authority to define the classification of broadband as an information service under Title I.

    September 23, 2005

    FCC reclassifies internet access across the phone network, including DSL, as a Title I information service.

  • 2008

    August 1, 2008

    Comcast vs. BitTorrent decision by FCC Chairman Martin – FCC hands Comcast a cease-and-desist order.

  • 2010

    April 6, 2010

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismisses the FCC’s cease and desist order against Comcast.

    December 21, 2010

    FCC Open Internet Order makes net neutrality rules official FCC regulation for the first time.

  • 2014

    January 14, 2014

    In Verizon vs. FCC, DC Circuit rules that as a Title I information service, FCC has no authority to adopt net neutrality regulations.

    November 10, 2014

    President Obama calls on the FCC to reclassify broadband as Title II.

  • 2015

    February 26, 2015

    FCC votes to 3-2 to classify the internet as a public utility under Title II of The Communications Act.

  • 2019

    October 1, 2019

    In Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upholds the FCC’s decision to restore Title I classification of broadband and remands some minor issues back to the agency.