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IDG News Service - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality regulations, also known as open Internet rules, face a hearing on Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Verizon Communications has challenged the FCC's authority to pass the rules.
Here's a look back at some highlights in the long history of net neutrality rules at the FCC.
February 2004 -- After many months of debate about the potential for broadband providers to selectively block or slow some Internet traffic, FCC Chairman Michael Powell, a Republican, calls for four Internet freedoms encompassing net neutrality.
August 2005 -- The FCC, while voting to end regulations requiring incumbent telecommunications carriers to share their DSL broadband connections with competitors, approves an Internet policy statement reflecting Powell's four freedoms. The policy statement, which does not have the force of regulation, says broadband users are entitled to run Web applications and services of their choice and connect their choice of legal devices to the network.
November 2005 -- Ed Whitacre, CEO of SBC (soon to be AT&T), complains to BusinessWeek about companies like Google and Vonage. "Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it."
December 2006 -- AT&T pledges to maintain a "neutral network" in exchange for U.S. government approval of its proposed acquisition of BellSouth.
May 2007 -- Comcast broadband subscribers, including networking expert Robb Topolski, begin to notice slowed connections while using BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer applications. The Associated Press, in October, publishes a report of similar results from Comcast's network. Comcast says it's managing network traffic during times of heavy use.
April 2008 -- FCC Chairman Kevin Martin says Comcast's slowing of peer-to-peer traffic appears to be more widespread than the company had disclosed. In May, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems finds that Comcast and Cox Communications are slowing BitTorrent traffic at all times of the day, not just during peak traffic. Comcast says BitTorrent can cause traffic peaks at any time of the day.
August 2008 -- The FCC orders Comcast to stop its "invasive" interference with peer-to-peer traffic on its broadband network and to create a new network management plan.
September 2008 -- Comcast appeals the FCC's antithrottling order, arguing that the commission had no hard rules against the company's network management practices.
April 2010 -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the same court hearing Verizon's challenge of newer rules, overturns the FCC's Comcast ruling, saying the agency lacks "any statutorily mandated responsibility" to enforce network neutrality rules.
December 2010 -- After months of discussion, the FCC approves net neutrality regulations that some consumer and digital rights groups say are weak and full of loopholes.