“Regulators are proposing new rules on Internet traffic that would allow broadband providers to charge companies a premium for access to their fastest lanes,” Gautham Nagesh reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The Federal Communications Commission plans to put forth its new rules on Thursday. The proposal marks the FCC’s third attempt at enforcing ‘net neutrality’ – the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.”

“Developed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the proposal is an effort to prevent broadband Internet providers such as Comcast Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., and Time Warner Cable from blocking or slowing down individual websites served up to the consumer. The idea is that consumers should be able to access whatever content they choose, not the content chosen by the broadband provider,” Nagesh reports. “But it would also allow providers to give preferential treatment to traffic from some content providers, as long as such arrangements are available on ‘commercially reasonable’ terms for all interested content companies. Whether the terms are commercially reasonable would be decided by the FCC on a case-by-case basis.”

“Some advocates of an open Internet argue that preferential treatment for some content companies inevitably will result in discriminatory treatment for others,” Nagesh reports. “The proposal would open the door to new products from companies such as Apple Inc., which has explored the idea of offering a video service that would rely on a dedicated portion of the broadband pipe. Like the FCC’s previous open Internet rules, the proposal wouldn’t apply to wireless carriers, which aren’t governed by any net-neutrality rules.”

“If the rule is adopted, winners would be the major broadband providers that would be able to charge both consumers and content providers for access to their networks. Companies like Google Inc. or Netflix Inc. that offer voice or video services that rely on broadband could take advantage of such arrangements by paying to ensure that their traffic reaches consumers without disruption. Those companies could pay for preferential treatment on the ‘last mile’ of broadband networks that connects directly to consumers’ homes,” Nagesh reports. “One top cable executive said, ‘I have to say, I’m pleased.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August 2006:

We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.

And as we followed up in September 2009:

That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.

Make that “the same Take over seven years later.”

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FCC plans to issue new so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 19, 2014
U.S. federal court strikes down FCC’s so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – January 14, 2014
Verizon’s ‘Net Neutrality’ battle with U.S. FCC not about free speech – September 9, 2013
U.S. Senate rejects attempt to overturn FCC’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 10, 2011
Free Press sues U.S. FCC over so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – September 29, 2011
FCC takes steps toward implementing ‘Net Neutrality’ rules – July 1, 2011
Al Franken: Big corporations are ‘hoping to destroy’ the Internet – March 16, 2011
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FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
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Did the FCC’s National Broadband Plan kill ‘Net Neutrality?’ – March 26, 2010
Steve Jobs: Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra is ‘bullshit’ – February 01, 2010
Will ‘Net Neutrality’ go wireless? Google and the telecommunications industry gird for battle – October 01, 2009
AT&T: Any new ‘net neutrality’ rules should apply to Google Voice, too – September 25, 2009
AT&T calls FCC neutrality plan a ‘Bait and Switch’ – September 22, 2009
Senate Republicans move to block FCC’s proposed ‘net neutrality’ rules – September 22, 2009
Opposing Net Neutrality – August 10, 2006
U.S. Senate committee rejects net neutrality proposal – June 29, 2006
House rejects H.R. 5252 Net neutrality amendment – June 09, 2006
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