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Open Internet Order (OIO) -- Q and A with Mary Jan Hedman

Since the Open Internet Order (OIO) was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015, some St. Joe Valley Metronet Zing subscribers have asked about its impact. In the following Q and A, Metronet CEO Mary Jan Hedman responds to some of those questions.


Q. What is the Open Internet Order?

A. Also known as the Network Neutrality Order, the Open Internet Order changes the way the FCC regulates internet service providers. The order prohibits broadband and internet providers from favoring one content provider over another, whether by restricting speed or by imposing higher costs.

The FCC received nearly four million public comments as it considered the regulatory change, an unprecedented expression of public interest and support for an open internet.

Q. Why was it adopted?

A. The FCC acted out of concern that broadband providers would create fast and slow lanes favoring some content services.

Q. How does it work?

A. The OIO has four basic rules:

              1. No blocking. Broadband providers cannot block lawful content or services.

              2. No throttling. Providers cannot slow or impair transmission of lawful content or services.

              3. No paid prioritization. Providers cannot favor content or services for a fee.

              4. Any other practice is prohibited if it would interfere with the open nature of the internet.

Q. How does this affect Metronet?

A. It doesn’t. Because it provides infrastructure only and not internet services, Metronet is and always has been open. Metronet’s dark fiber network is carrier neutral. Once subscribers lease access to the fiber they provide the equipment, or engage a service provider, to light it. They choose the speed and capacity that best works for them. Because it provides only fiber, Metronet does not fall under the FCC’s definition of a broadband service provider.

Q. How does the Open Internet Order affect Metronet subscribers?

A. The Open Internet Order may affect relationships between subscribers and providers they engage for broadband internet access and other services, since those service providers fall under the OIO. Some Metronet subscribers lease fiber to deliver broadband services, and they would be regulated by network neutrality rules. Subscriber obligations are explained in Metronet’s Accepted Use Policies. See here for a link. Although Metronet’s AUP hasn’t changed because of the FCC order, the AUP requires subscribers that provide services to abide by the OIO.

Q. Where may I learn more about the OIO?

A. If you want more depth, here’s a link to the FCC web site which contains the entire 400 page order as well as summaries of comments and press releases.