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 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:
§ 8.3 Transparency.
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 fixed 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 pet 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
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 was 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.
 spayed or neutered
Note - This post originally appeared on the Overture Networks Overtones web site at http://www.overturenetworks.com/2014/04/01/an-update-on-pet-neutrality/