FCC and Net Neutrality
Written by Andrea Martin. Media by Matt Miller
The FCC will be pressing for stronger Internet regulations, and even went as far to say that those said regulations would be the “strongest open Internet protections” the web has ever seen.
Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Commission of Communications, has looked to confront cable television and telecommunication companies that supply American homes with high-speed Internet. His framework of open Internet, or net neutrality, has left a bitter taste in those who question his true intent in trying to regulate the Internet. Wheeler has proposed that the FCC use Title II of the Communications Act to further its
Wheeler has proposed that the FCC use Title II of the Communications Act to further its authority, and to protect consumer
broadband Internet. Under this action, the FCC can stop Internet service providers from charging content providers such as Netflix more money for more reliable Internet access, or faster “lanes.” The FCC will also look to prohibit the blocking or deliberate slowing of access to legal content.
“These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply — for the first time ever — those bright-line rules to mobile broadband,” Wheeler said.
“My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.”
The authority that Wheeler could possibly get would leave the FCC enforcement powers to monitor practices in the marketplace for handling of data before it enters the gateway network into people’s homes (what he is calling the interconnect market.). The FCC will have to handle, case-by-case, the complaints pertaining to interconnection activities on the Internet.
The FCC, however, will not impose any kind of tariffs or regulate pricing that would require unbundling of services on a consumer’s part.
President Obama sided with Wheeler on the terms of Title II, and Wheeler has also gained support from Netflix and Google. Verizon’s deputy general counsel Michael Glover called the plan “unnecessary and counterproductive.”
In further expanding his view, Glover said the proposal “is unnecessary because all participants in the Internet ecosystem support an open Internet,” he said. “It is counter-productive because heavy regulation of the Internet will create uncertainty and chill investment among the many players.”
ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have longed feared Title II’s regulatory “do’s” and “don’ts”, which ultimately goes back to the FCC policing practices of said ISPs.
The commissioners of the FCC will not vote on the proposal until Feb. 26, but ISPs have vowed to fight back.
Since the term “net neutrality” was coined back in 2003, the FCC has tried to regulate the Internet twice – and failed both. Thanks to court challenges the rules that were to be implemented were struck down, and for a third time the FCC will look to impose even stricter rules than before. For consumers this is a huge step, and for Internet Providers, a huge setback.