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Friday, 25 April 2014 10:42

FCC claims it is not killing net neutrality

Written by Nick Farrell

Surprised that people think otherwise

The U.S. communications regulator seems a bit bewildered that people are upset about it giving in into the US telecoms companies and killing off neutrality. Like many in the US government, the FCC tends to believe that everything that US companies is good and wholesome so its decision to allow "fast lanes" for some content on the Internet, seemed perfectly reasonable.

Consumer advocates slammed the proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, saying it would let certain content providers pay for access to fast lanes and discourage consumers from going to competitors' sites where videos or other content may load more slowly by comparison. Users effectively have to pay twice for their internet and the bigger content companies who can afford the better service will survive while those who don’t will die off does not seem to have occurred to it. The system also allows the US’s awful telcos to blackmail content providers – so what is there for an outfit which supposed to protect consumers not to love?

Today the FCC said that the agency will monitor and punish broadband providers that treat Web traffic "unreasonably." 

"The Federal Communications Commission is weighing rules that would ban Internet providers from blocking access to websites or applications, but would allow content companies to pay for faster Internet speeds delivering their traffic as long as such deals are deemed "commercially reasonable."

The five-member FCC will negotiate the rules before they vote on May 15 to formally propose them and seek public comment. Wheeler said that reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule are flat-out wrong. In January, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the second time struck down the FCC's previous anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules after a challenge from Verizon Communications Inc. However, the judges did affirm the agency's authority to regulate broadband, giving the FCC new legal opportunity to rewrite the rules.

It was the court's direction that guided Wheeler's proposal to allow commercially reasonable preferential treatment of traffic. The agency will seek public comment before determining how to define "commercially unreasonable" behaviour or a violation of "net neutrality," but it will focus on whether broadband companies' treatment of traffic hurts competitors or consumers, hurts free speech or is done in good faith.

Nick Farrell

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