The FCC Is Getting Serious About Enforcing Its Last Remaining Net-Neutrality Rule

Denis Rozhnovsky/

The agency threatens to crack down on Internet providers that lie about speed.

The Federal Communications Commission warned Internet providers on Wednesday that they will face penalties if they mislead their customers about the connection speeds they're offering.

This rule, called the "Open Internet Transparency Rule," is the only surviving piece of the net-neutrality rules struck down by a federal court in February. The rule requires broadband providers to accurately disclose how they handle traffic, Internet speeds, and prices to consumers.

"Consumers deserve to get the broadband service they pay for," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement Wednesday. "After today, no broadband provider can claim they didn't know we were watching to see that they disclose accurate information about the services they provide."

If an Internet provider is caught lying or not disclosing enough information, they could face a penalty, such as a fine.

The FCC is not currently investigating any provider for providing inaccurate information, but the agency has received a number of consumer complaints, according to an FCC spokesman.

The agency is in the process of reworking the rest of its net-neutrality rules. After proposing the possibility of allowing "paid-prioritization," Wheeler has faced intense public pressure to reclassify broadband as a public utility.

The FCC received over 1 million net-neutrality comments by the proceeding's deadline for public comment on July 18.

(Image via Denis Rozhnovsky/