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Net Neutrality Rules to Take Effect Nov. 20

The FCC's network neutrality rules will go into effect Nov. 20, a top FCC attorney confirmed Thursday.

That will be 11 months after they were approved Dec. 21, 2010.

The FCC made the effective date of the rules 60 days after the Office of Management and Budget published its approval of the paperwork collection obligations of the rules in the Federal Register, which it did in the Sept. 21 edition.

According to FCC rules, lawsuits can't be filed against the network neutrality order until the full rules are published in the Federal Register, which the FCC official said was "close," perhaps as early as Friday. The FCC sent the rules to the register to be published last Friday (Sept. 16) and while it can take up to a three weeks, the official said the FCC had gotten the signal it could be any day now.

Verizon and MetroPCS have already tried to file suit against the rules, but the court told them they had to wait until the order was official.

A Verizon spokesman said Thursday that the company would refile that suit after the rules are published.

The cable industry was part of the industry coalition that worked on the compromise regs, adopted last December, but said they were unnecessary and did so primarily to avoid what they saw as the greater evil of Title II reclassification.

The order implements three basic rules: 1) a transparency rule that requires fixed and wireless broadband service providers to provide relevant information about their services to both consumers and content, applications, and device providers; 2) a no-blocking rule that prevents fixed broadband providers from blocking content, applications, services or devices,  subject to "reasonable network management," and in the mobile space prevents the blocking of access to Web sites and applications that compete with voice or video telephony services, also subject to reasonable network management; 3) a rule, applying only to fixed broadband, that prevents unreasonable discrimination by broadband providers in delivering the traffic on their networks.

The rules codified the four network openness principles adopted as a policy statement rather than enforceable rules in September 2005 after the commission ruled that Internet service was not subject to Title II mandatory access provisions. They were that "consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice; 2) consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement; 3) consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network; and 4) consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."

The commission added the ones preventing discrimination against content or applications and transparency about network management practices.

Republicans have vowed, and tried, to block the rules through various legislative maneuvers, including defunding their implementation and voiding the decision, but those efforts have so far failed to gain traction.