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New rules for net neutrality won't be here until 2015

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The Federal Communications Commission has been hoping to put new net neutrality rules in place by the end of the year, but it's now become clear that it isn't going to happen. The commission tells us that rules won't be in place by the end of the year "due to needing more time for analysis." FCC chairman Tom Wheeler brought this up in more detail yesterday in his response to President Obama's proposal for strong net neutrality, asking that the Commission take the major step of reclassifying internet service as a utility.

Wheeler has been targeting the end of 2014

In part, this is because the FCC is now looking at new plans — as it was made pretty obvious that the American public wasn't happy with the one proposed last spring. These new plans may adopt a "hybrid" approach, which would apply strong regulation to some internet services and lighter regulation to others. Regardless of what the commission decides to use, Wheeler says that a primary goal of the continued analysis is just to make sure that whatever the agency lands on will work. The FCC previously had net neutrality rules in place, but they were struck down as unenforceable. It doesn't want that to happen again.

The Commission notes that "there was no official timetable" in place on net neutrality, and while that's true, Wheeler has made it abundantly clear that he was trying to get rules in place by the end of 2014. The Commission's failure to do so is likely a result of the public outcry against its initial proposal, sending it back to the drawing board in a more substantial way than it may have initially planned. The fact that it's continuing to work and will push the rule-making process into next year is, in some senses, a good thing. No one is thrilled with the commission's first plan, but we can at least hope that it's coming up with something good for its second.