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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about Internet access, including broadband Internet access. For telecommunications signaling methods, see Broadband. An Opte Project visualization of routing paths through a portion of the Internet. History of the Internet. Data rates , Bit rates , Bandwidth computing , and Device data rates. AS incident and List of web host service outages. Typical noises of a dial-up modem while establishing connection with a local ISP in order to get access to the Internet.

Internet users in as a percentage of a country's population. Fixed broadband Internet subscriptions in as a percentage of a country's population. Mobile broadband Internet subscriptions in as a percentage of a country's population. Internet in the United States. Digital rights and Right to Internet access. Back-channel , a low bandwidth, or less-than-optimal, transmission channel in the opposite direction to the main channel Broadband mapping in the United States Comparison of wireless data standards Connectivity in a social and cultural sense Fiber-optic communication History of the Internet IP over DVB , Internet access using MPEG data streams over a digital television network List of countries by number of broadband Internet subscriptions National broadband plan Public switched telephone network PSTN Residential gateway Telecommunications network White spaces radio , a group of technology companies working to deliver broadband Internet access via unused analog television frequencies.

Archived from the original on 20 October Retrieved 11 October Archived from the original on 1 February Retrieved 25 December The National Broadband Plan. US Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on July 13, Retrieved July 15, Archived from the original PDF on July 21, Retrieved July 12, Implications for the future of broadband networks".

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Accessed on 21 October Archived from the original on June 12, Retrieved May 5, Archived from the original on 12 May Retrieved 23 May The redistribution of information and communication capacities between and " PDF. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. Number and internet access of instructional computers and rooms in public schools, by selected school characteristics: Selected years, through " Archived at the Wayback Machine.

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Detailed Findings" Archived at the Wayback Machine. Conclusions and recommendations" Archived at the Wayback Machine. Journal on telecom and high tech law.

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Free Study Guide PDF Download a free preparation booklet with test information, complete practice tests with scoring keys, and a writing prompt. English Practice Test Questions. It read Neal v. United States, U. Neal established no such proposition. Neal declined to defer to a construction adopted by the United States Sentencing Commission that conflicted with one the Court previously had adopted in Chapman v. Neal , supra , at Chapman , however, had held the relevant statute to be unambiguous.

Those decisions allow a court's prior interpretation of a statute to override an agency's interpretation only if the relevant court decision held the statute unambiguous. Against this background, the Court of Appeals erred in refusing to apply Chevron to the Commission's interpretation of the definition of "telecommunications service," 47 U.

Nothing in Portland held that the Communications Act unambiguously required treating cable Internet providers as telecommunications carriers. Instead, the court noted that it was "not presented with a case involving potential deference to an administrative agency's statutory construction pursuant to the Chevron doctrine," id. Before a judicial construction of a statute, whether contained in a precedent or not, may trump an agency's, the court must hold that the statute unambiguously requires the court's construction.

Portland did not do so. As the dissent points out, it is not logically necessary for us to reach the question whether the Court of Appeals misapplied Chevron for us to decide whether the Commission acted lawfully.

See post , at opinion of Scalia , J. Nevertheless, it is no "great mystery" why we are reaching the point here. There is genuine confusion in the lower courts over the interaction between the Chevron doctrine and stare decisis principles, as the petitioners informed us at the certiorari stage of this litigation. The point has been briefed. And not reaching the point could undermine the purpose of our grant of certiorari: Were we to uphold the Declaratory Ruling without reaching the Chevron point, the Court of Appeals could once again strike down the Commission's rule based on its Portland decision.

Portland at least arguably could compel the Court of Appeals once again to reverse the Commission despite our decision, since our conclusion that it is reasonable to read the Communications Act to classify cable modem service solely as an "information service" leaves untouched Portland 's holding that the Commission's interpretation is not the best reading of the statute.

We have before decided similar questions that were not, strictly speaking, necessary to our disposition. It is prudent for us to do so once again today. We next address whether the Commission's construction of the definition of "telecommunications service," 47 U.

Chevron established a familiar two-step procedure for evaluating whether an agency's interpretation of a statute is lawful. At the first step, we ask whether the statute's plain terms "directly addres[s] the precise question at issue.

If the statute is ambiguous on the point, we defer at step two to the agency's interpretation so long as the construction is "a reasonable policy choice for the agency to make. The Commission's interpretation is permissible at both steps. We first set forth our understanding of the interpretation of the Communications Act that the Commission embraced. The issue before the Commission was whether cable companies providing cable modem service are providing a "telecommunications service" in addition to an "information service.

The Commission first concluded that cable modem service is an "information service," a conclusion unchallenged here. The Act defines "information service" as "the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications Cable modem service is an information service, the Commission reasoned, because it provides consumers with a comprehensive capability for manipulating information using the Internet via high-speed telecommunications.

That service enables users, for example, to browse the World Wide Web, to transfer files from file archives available on the Internet via the "File Transfer Protocol," and to access e-mail and Usenet newsgroups.

DNS, among other things, matches the Web page addresses that end users type into their browsers or "click" on with the Internet Protocol IP addresses 1 of the servers containing the Web pages the users wish to access.

All of these features, the Commission concluded, were part of the information service that cable companies provide consumers. At the same time, the Commission concluded that cable modem service was not "telecommunications service. The Commission conceded that, like all information-service providers, cable companies use "telecommunications" to provide consumers with Internet service; cable companies provide such service via the high-speed wire that transmits signals to and from an end user's computer.

For the Commission, however, the question whether cable broadband Internet providers "offer" telecommunications involved more than whether telecommunications was one necessary component of cable modem service. Instead, whether that service also includes a telecommunications "offering" "tur[ned] on the nature of the functions the end user is offered," id. Seen from the consumer's point of view, the Commission concluded, cable modem service is not a telecommunications offering because the consumer uses the high-speed wire always in connection with the information-processing capabilities provided by Internet access, and because the transmission is a necessary component of Internet access: The wire is used, in other words, to access the World Wide Web, newsgroups, and so forth, rather than "transparently" to transmit and receive ordinary-language messages without computer processing or storage of the message.

See supra , at 4 noting the Computer II notion of "transparent" transmission. The integrated character of this offering led the Commission to conclude that cable modem service is not a "stand-alone," transparent offering of telecommunications. This construction passes Chevron 's first step.

Respondents argue that it does not, on the ground that cable companies providing Internet service necessarily "offe[r]" the underlying telecommunications used to transmit that service. Instead, "offering" can reasonably be read to mean a "stand-alone" offering of telecommunications, i. That conclusion follows not only from the ordinary meaning of the word "offering," but also from the regulatory history of the Communications Act.

We have held that where a statute's plain terms admit of two or more reasonable ordinary usages, the Commission's choice of one of them is entitled to deference. See Verizon, U. The term "offe[r]" as used in the definition of telecommunications service, 47 U. It is common usage to describe what a company "offers" to a consumer as what the consumer perceives to be the integrated finished product, even to the exclusion of discrete components that compose the product, as the dissent concedes.

See post , at 3 opinion of Scalia , J. One might well say that a car dealership "offers" cars, but does not "offer" the integrated major inputs that make purchasing the car valuable, such as the engine or the chassis.

It would, in fact, be odd to describe a car dealership as "offering" consumers the car's components in addition to the car itself. Even if it is linguistically permissible to say that the car dealership "offers" engines when it offers cars, that shows, at most, that the term "offer," when applied to a commercial transaction, is ambiguous about whether it describes only the offered finished product, or the product's discrete components as well. It does not show that no other usage is permitted.

The question, then, is whether the transmission component of cable modem service is sufficiently integrated with the finished service to make it reasonable to describe the two as a single, integrated offering. We think that they are sufficiently integrated, because "[a] consumer uses the high-speed wire always in connection with the information-processing capabilities provided by Internet access, and because the transmission is a necessary component of Internet access.

In the telecommunications context, it is at least reasonable to describe companies as not "offering" to consumers each discrete input that is necessary to providing, and is always used in connection with, a finished service.

We think it no misuse of language, for example, to say that cable companies providing Internet service do not "offer" consumers DNS, even though DNS is essential to providing Internet access. Declaratory Ruling , n. Likewise, a telephone company "offers" consumers a transparent transmission path that conveys an ordinary-language message, not necessarily the data transmission facilities that also "transmi[t] What cable companies providing cable modem service and telephone companies providing telephone service "offer" is Internet service and telephone service respectively--the finished services, though they do so using or "via" the discrete components composing the end product, including data transmission.

In response, the dissent argues that the high-speed transmission component necessary to providing cable modem service is necessarily "offered" with Internet service because cable modem service is like the offering of pizza delivery service together with pizza, and the offering of puppies together with dog leashes.

Post , at opinion of Scalia , J. The dissent's appeal to these analogies only underscores that the term "offer" is ambiguous in the way that we have described. The entire question is whether the products here are functionally integrated like the components of a car or functionally separate like pets and leashes. That question turns not on the language of the Act, but on the factual particulars of how Internet technology works and how it is provided, questions Chevron leaves to the Commission to resolve in the first instance.

As the Commission has candidly recognized, "the question may not always be straightforward whether, on the one hand, an entity is providing a single information service with communications and computing components, or, on the other hand, is providing two distinct services, one of which is a telecommunications service.

Because the term "offer" can sometimes refer to a single, finished product and sometimes to the "individual components in a package being offered" depending on whether the components "still possess sufficient identity to be described as separate objects," post , at 3 , the statute fails unambiguously to classify the telecommunications component of cable modem service as a distinct offering. This leaves federal telecommunications policy in this technical and complex area to be set by the Commission, not by warring analogies.

We also do not share the dissent's certainty that cable modem service is so obviously like pizza delivery service and the combination of dog leashes and dogs that the Commission could not reasonably have thought otherwise. For example, unlike the transmission component of Internet service, delivery service and dog leashes are not integral components of the finished products pizzas and pet dogs. One can pick up a pizza rather than having it delivered, and one can own a dog without buying a leash.

By contrast, the Commission reasonably concluded, a consumer cannot purchase Internet service without also purchasing a connection to the Internet and the transmission always occurs in connection with information processing.

In any event, we doubt that a statute that, for example, subjected offerors of "delivery" service such as Federal Express and United Parcel Service to common-carrier regulation would unambiguously require pizza-delivery companies to offer their delivery services on a common carrier basis. The Commission's traditional distinction between basic and enhanced service, see supra , at , also supports the conclusion that the Communications Act is ambiguous about whether cable companies "offer" telecommunications with cable modem service.

Congress passed the definitions in the Communications Act against the background of this regulatory history, and we may assume that the parallel terms "telecommunications service" and "information service" substantially incorporated their meaning, as the Commission has held. The regulatory history in at least two respects confirms that the term "telecommunications service" is ambiguous. First, in the Computer II Order that established the terms "basic" and "enhanced" services, the Commission defined those terms functionally, based on how the consumer interacts with the provided information, just as the Commission did in the order below.

See supra , at It was therefore consistent with the statute's terms for the Commission to assume that the parallel term "telecommunications service" in 47 U.

The Commission has long held that "all those who provide some form of transmission services are not necessarily common carriers. For example, the Commission did not subject to common-carrier regulation those service providers that offered enhanced services over telecommunications facilities, but that did not themselves own the underlying facilities--so-called "non-facilities-based" providers.

Examples of these services included database services in which a customer used telecommunications to access information, such as Dow Jones News and Lexis, as well as "value added networks," which lease wires from common carriers and provide transmission as well as protocol-processing service over those wires.

These services "combin[ed] communications and computing components," yet the Commission held that they should "always be deemed enhanced" and therefore not subject to common-carrier regulation. Following this traditional distinction, the Commission in the Universal Service Report classified ISPs that leased rather than owned their transmission facilities as pure information-service providers. Respondents' statutory arguments conflict with this regulatory history.

They claim that the Communications Act unambiguously classifies as telecommunications carriers all entities that use telecommunications inputs to provide information service. As respondent MCI concedes, this argument would subject to mandatory common-carrier regulation all information-service providers that use telecommunications as an input to provide information service to the public.

For example, it would subject to common-carrier regulation non-facilities-based ISPs that own no transmission facilities. Those ISPs provide consumers with transmission facilities used to connect to the Internet, see supra , at 2, and so, under respondents' argument, necessarily "offer" telecommunications to consumers.

Respondents' position that all such entities are necessarily "offering telecommunications" therefore entails mandatory common-carrier regulation of entities that the Commission never classified as "offerors" of basic transmission service, and therefore common carriers, under the Computer II regime.

We doubt that the parallel term "telecommunications service" unambiguously worked this abrupt shift in Commission policy. Respondents' analogy between cable companies that provide cable modem service and facilities-based enhanced-service providers--that is, enhanced-service providers who own the transmission facilities used to provide those services--fares no better.

Respondents stress that under the Computer II rules the Commission regulated such providers more heavily than non-facilities-based providers. The Commission required, for example, local telephone companies that provided enhanced services to offer their wires on a common-carrier basis to competing enhanced-service providers.

Respondents argue that the Communications Act unambiguously requires the same treatment for cable companies because cable companies also own the facilities they use to provide cable modem service and therefore information service.

We think it improbable that the Communications Act unambiguously freezes in time the Computer II treatment of facilities-based information-service providers. The Act's definition of "telecommunications service" says nothing about imposing more stringent regulatory duties on facilities-based information-service providers.

The definition hinges solely on whether the entity "offer[s] telecommunications for a fee directly to the public," 47 U. In the Computer II rules, the Commission subjected facilities-based providers to common-carrier duties not because of the nature of the "offering" made by those carriers, but rather because of the concern that local telephone companies would abuse the monopoly power they possessed by virtue of the "bottleneck" local telephone facilities they owned.

The differential treatment of facilities-based carriers was therefore a function not of the definitions of "enhanced-service" and "basic service," but instead of a choice by the Commission to regulate more stringently, in its discretion, certain entities that provided enhanced service.

The Act's definitions, however, parallel the definitions of enhanced and basic service, not the facilities-based grounds on which that policy choice was based, and the Commission remains free to impose special regulatory duties on facilities-based ISPs under its Title I ancillary jurisdiction.

In fact, it has invited comment on whether it can and should do so. See supra , at 7. In sum, if the Act fails unambiguously to classify non-facilities-based information-service providers that use telecommunications inputs to provide an information service as "offer[ors]" of "telecommunications," then it also fails unambiguously to classify facilities-based information-service providers as telecommunications-service offerors; the relevant definitions do not distinguish facilities-based and non-facilities-based carriers.

That silence suggests, instead, that the Commission has the discretion to fill the consequent statutory gap. We also conclude that the Commission's construction was "a reasonable policy choice for the [Commission] to make" at Chevron 's second step. Respondents argue that the Commission's construction is unreasonable because it allows any communications provider to "evade" common-carrier regulation by the expedient of bundling information service with telecommunications.

Respondents argue that under the Commission's construction a telephone company could, for example, offer an information service like voice mail together with telephone service, thereby avoiding common-carrier regulation of its telephone service.

We need not decide whether a construction that resulted in these consequences would be unreasonable because we do not believe that these results follow from the construction the Commission adopted. As we understand the Declaratory Ruling , the Commission did not say that any telecommunications service that is priced or bundled with an information service is automatically unregulated under Title II. The Commission said that a telecommunications input used to provide an information service that is not "separable from the data-processing capabilities of the service" and is instead "part and parcel of [the information service] and is integral to [the information service's] other capabilities" is not a telecommunications offering.

This construction does not leave all information service offerings exempt from mandatory Title II regulation. That is because a telephone company that packages voice mail with telephone service offers a transparent transmission path--telephone service--that transmits information independent of the information-storage capabilities provided by voice mail.

For instance, when a person makes a telephone call, his ability to convey and receive information using the call is only trivially affected by the additional voice-mail capability. Equally, were a telephone company to add a time-of-day announcement that played every time the user picked up his telephone, the "transparent" information transmitted in the ensuing call would be only trivially dependent on the information service the announcement provides.

By contrast, the high-speed transmission used to provide cable modem service is a functionally integrated component of that service because it transmits data only in connection with the further processing of information and is necessary to provide Internet service. Respondents answer that cable modem service does, in fact, provide "transparent" transmission from the consumer's perspective, but this argument, too, is mistaken.

Respondents characterize the "information-service" offering of Internet access as consisting only of access to a cable company's e-mail service, its Web page, and the ability it provides consumers to create a personal Web page. When a consumer goes beyond those offerings and accesses content provided by parties other than the cable company, respondents argue, the consumer uses "pure transmission" no less than a consumer who purchases phone service together with voice mail.

This argument, we believe, conflicts with the Commission's understanding of the nature of cable modem service, an understanding we find to be reasonable. When an end user accesses a third-party's Web site, the Commission concluded, he is equally using the information service provided by the cable company that offers him Internet access as when he accesses the company's own Web site, its e-mail service, or his personal Web page.

For example, as the Commission found below, part of the information service cable companies provide is access to DNS service. A user cannot reach a third-party's Web site without DNS, which among other things matches the Web site address the end user types into his browser or "clicks" on with his mouse with the IP address of the Web page's host server.

That includes the World Wide Web, electronic mail, remote terminal access, and file transfer". It is at least reasonable to think of DNS as a "capability for Cacheing obviates the need for the end user to download anew information from third-party Web sites each time the consumer attempts to access them, thereby increasing the speed of information retrieval.

In other words, subscribers can reach third-party Web sites via "the World Wide Web, and browse their contents, [only] because their service provider offers the 'capability for We therefore conclude that the Commission's construction was reasonable.

MCI points out that when local telephone companies began to offer Internet access through DSL technology in addition to telephone service, the Commission applied its Computer II facilities-based classification to them and required them to make the telephone lines used to transmit DSL service available to competing ISPs on nondiscriminatory, common-carrier terms. We conclude, however, that the Commission provided a reasoned explanation for treating cable modem service differently from DSL service.

As we have already noted, see supra , at , the Commission is free within the limits of reasoned interpretation to change course if it adequately justifies the change.

The traditional reason for its Computer II common-carrier treatment of facilities-based carriers including DSL carriers , as the Commission explained, was "that the telephone network [was] the primary, if not exclusive, means through which information service providers can gain access to their customers. The Commission in the order under review, by contrast, concluded that changed market conditions warrant different treatment of facilities-based cable companies providing Internet access.

Unlike at the time of Computer II , substitute forms of Internet transmission exist today: This, the Commission reasoned, warranted treating cable companies unlike the facilities-based enhanced-service providers of the past. We find nothing arbitrary about the Commission's providing a fresh analysis of the problem as applied to the cable industry, which it has never subjected to these rules. This is adequate rational justification for the Commission's conclusions.

Respondents argue, in effect, that the Commission's justification for exempting cable modem service providers from common-carrier regulation applies with similar force to DSL providers. We need not address that argument. The Commission's decision appears to be a first step in an effort to reshape the way the Commission regulates information-service providers; that may be why it has tentatively concluded that DSL service provided by facilities-based telephone companies should also be classified solely as an information service.

The Commission need not immediately apply the policy reasoning in the Declaratory Ruling to all types of information-service providers. It apparently has decided to revisit its longstanding Computer II classification of facilities-based information-service providers incrementally. Any inconsistency between the order under review and the Commission's treatment of DSL service can be adequately addressed when the Commission fully reconsiders its treatment of DSL service and when it decides whether, pursuant to its ancillary Title I jurisdiction, to require cable companies to allow independent ISPs access to their facilities.

See supra , at 7, this page. We express no view on those matters. In particular, we express no view on how the Commission should, or lawfully may, classify DSL service. The questions the Commission resolved in the order under review involve a "subject matter [that] is technical, complex, and dynamic.

The Commission is in a far better position to address these questions than we are. Nothing in the Communications Act or the Administrative Procedure Act makes unlawful the Commission's use of its expert policy judgment to resolve these difficult questions.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. While I join the Court's opinion in full, I add this caveat concerning Part III-B, which correctly explains why a court of appeals' interpretation of an ambiguous provision in a regulatory statute does not foreclose a contrary reading by the agency. That explanation would not necessarily be applicable to a decision by this Court that would presumably remove any pre-existing ambiguity.

I join the Court's opinion because I believe that the Federal Communications Commission's decision falls within the scope of its statutorily delegated authority--though perhaps just barely.

I write separately because I believe it important to point out that J ustice S calia , in my view, has wrongly characterized the Court's opinion in United States v. He states that the Court held in Mead that "some unspecified degree of formal process" before the agency "was required" for courts to accord the agency's decision deference under Chevron U.

Post , at 12 dissenting opinion ; see also ibid. J ustice S calia has correctly characterized the way in which he, in dissent , characterized the Court's Mead opinion. But the Court said the opposite.

United States Supreme Court

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