FCC to propose new rules for so-called ‘Net Neutrality’; would allow broadband providers to charge companies for speed

“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.”

Related articles:
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
Speaker Boehner rips FCC bid to regulate Internet; likens ‘shocking’ national debt to Sputnik threat – February 28, 2011
House passes amendment to block funds for FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ order – February 17, 2011
Rasmussen: Just 21% of likely U.S. voters want FCC to regulate Internet – December 28, 2010
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
Tim Lee on ‘network neutrality’: Libertarian computer geeks should forge a third way – December 16, 2010
Google and Verizon propose ‘Net Neutrality’ rules, but exempt wireless’ – August 9, 2010
Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’ – April 6, 2010
Google and Verizon said to be close to deal that may jeopardize ‘net neutrality’ – August 05, 2010
Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’ – April 06, 2010
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
Google posts call to action on ‘net neutrality’ – June 08, 2006
FCC Commissioner backs Net Neutrality – May 30, 2006


    1. My home plan is $60/month, my corporate plan is $600/month. Why? Well, the ISP expects a company to use more bandwidth.

      In our market here, iSP’s already “charge for speed and consumption”.

      So nothing new.

      So what’s the point of regulation? (Sorry, I read the title only, not the article)

  1. “‘Net neutrality’ – the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally” via “new rules on Internet traffic that would allow broadband providers to charge companies a premium for access to their fastest lanes.”

    “Net Non-neutrality” is more like it. Hands off if you’re too stupid to deal with simple issues, dummies! Let the nascent market work before you regulate it to death in the womb!

    Plop “Net Neutrality” on the pile of stupid gubmint misnomers right atop the “Affordable Care Act.”

    1. Re: First 2018, Then 2020 or whatever.

      The concept of Net Neutrality was to keep ISP from setting up a protection racket where they would throttle the throughput of data unless you ponied up more money, as in most of the United States there is only one local broadband player (landline is only important here as wireless is usually capped at a few GB.)

      If you live in some urban areas you might have a competitive market in broadband landline internet, but most do not and the TelCos (Verizon/AT&T/etc) and Cable Companies (Comcast/Time-Warner Cable/Cox/etc) have been fighting competition by any mean necessary. In some states they have pushed laws that forbid local governments or community-owned utilities from setting up broadband cable services.

      In a free market, anyone with the money and desire to compete would/should be able to build out a network and offer service. The lobbyists and ALEC (yes, that Koch Brothers funded creature) are trying to kill competition in the broadband internet market by sponsoring these bills.

      No progressive opposes a free market, we just oppose rigged markets where companies and trade associations buy votes to rig the laws in their favor and against the consumer and public good. Competition is a good thing, crony capitalism and rigged markets are not.

  2. The Golden Rule: those who have the gold rule. Saying that it is neutral to allow the rich content providers to negotiate “nondiscriminatory” rates that price their competitors out of business is like bragging that every American can own a Rolls-Royce, if he can afford one. As a Frenchman once pointed out, both rich and poor are free to sleep under bridges. This is just a tactic for Netflix and Amazon to prevent startups from competing.

  3. This is the beginning of the end of the net as we know it. Paying for preferential treatment is not neutrality. What it will do is squeeze out anyone who can’t pay extra to deliver their content. Good luck if you’re a startup, or if you have a personal web page. You’ll be relegated to the unmaintained, 5 mph backroad full of potholes, while those who can pay to play will cruise the freeway at 100 mph. Fees for all traffic will become standard, and those few remaining independent ISPs will shrivel and die. Welcome to the corporately owned internet.

    1. Yes, absolutely, Obama should have picked someone else for the position.

      However, singling out the Obama administration is myopic at best.

      The senior positions at the FCC have been serviced by a revolving door between those positions and senior lobbyist and industry positions for many, many years. I’ve personally been witnessing this revolving door in action at the FCC for over 25 years. It very likely has been going on long before I personally became aware of it.

      I negotiated a brand new type of service to be authorized by the FCC over 20 years ago. Negotiations involved three FCC groups: engineering/technical, legal, and administrators. Care to guess which group was easiest? Yes, the engineering/technical. Care to guess which was the most difficult: legal. Why? The administrators were actively using them as leverage to make sure the negotiations went the way the administrators wanted! And who were the administrators really representing? The big entrenched players who hadn’t anticipated, and thus feared, this new service. The administrators always appeared to be very, very supported, BUT they always wanted to run any new nuance past legal before they’d actually agree.

      There should be laws like there used to be for the U.S. Military. Once upon a time anyone leaving the U.S. Military with the rank of Major or higher had to wait a predefined period before they could go back in and represent a commercial interest to the U.S. Military. The idea was that you couldn’t leave the U.S. Military, the next day take a job in industry, then the next day go back to your old organization to work some inside, sweetheart deal. The restriction made a lot of sense.

      Stop the revolving door: If you’re a lobbyist or a person holding senior telecom industry position then there should be a minimum of two years between leaving that position and becoming a senior member of the FCC. Conversely, if you’re a senior member of the FCC then there must be a two year period before you can be a lobbyist for a telecom company or take senior position in a telecom company.

      Will it happen in any foreseeable future? Absolutely not. In fact, the rate at which the revolving door is spinning seems to be accelerating.

      1. Thank you. That’s a terrific experience to share.

        Of course, in this situation, we have a lobbyist moving directly into a government office, an office he specifically lobbied to change in the direction of The Corporate Oligarchy. So now, instead of trying to change the mind of the FCC, he IS the FCC.

        Pointing at the past is entirely relevant. But what we have today is all we can change. We have a crooked President who repeatedly lied and lies to the citizens he ‘represents’. He personally put in place THE man whom he KNEW would destroy Net Neutrality. There was no other outcome.

        And or course there is the question of whether a Republican president would have done the same thing. Answer: Yes, of course they would.

        Shot By Both Sides. To hell with the citizens.

    2. Yes, Obama is a DINO.
      Democrat In Name Only

      He has acted and acts like a corporatist and would fit better among the Republicans. They protest, but he is far closer to the mainstream GOP than the traditions of the Democratic Party.

      1. As ever, walking on the 1 dimensional political spectrum makes me *cringe* because it is so reductionist and idiotic.

        Nonetheless, if I look at this from a Democrat’s point of view I would entirely agree. How dare he call himself a ‘Democrat’?

        But of course we have this dominating force, commonly in charge throughout history, that we call ‘power and money’. They aren’t on any 1 Dimensional line. They’re off in the 3D world playing on the minds of the simpletons who think in 1 dimension, manipulating BOTH sides of that single line spectrum.

        Result: Screw everyone in our favor.

        What I call the current movement is Neo-Feudalism. We’re going into a dark age where the ‘power and money’ rule over us all. It very nicely fits into that concept of ‘the1%’ versus all the rest of us.

        And then of course there’s MORE: That 1% isn’t entirely money grubbing game playing little children. There are great people there who think first about mankind and Earth, our only home. Therefore, it’s wise to thrash the bushes and see what’s really there on every occasion rather than just nuking the who perceived show of baddies versus goodies.

  4. FCC

    “There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court’s ruling in January. There is no ‘turnaround in policy.’ The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.”

    1. There is a simple solution that would comply with the US Supreme Court ruling: Declare Internet Service Providers as common carriers. The FCC would then absolutely have the authority to impose Net Neutrality.
      Too cowardly and corrupt (in bed with the corporations) to do it, though.

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