FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal a Win For Broadband Firms

Posted by at 9:20 am on April 24, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission is prepared to release a revised set of rules concerning the governance of web traffic.

The proposal, which is expected to make an official appearance Thursday, would prevent broadband providers from discriminating against certain web sites and/or content, but it would also allow broadband providers to give select companies and their traffic preferential treatment. The preferential treatment must be made at “commercially reasonable” rates that are available to all content companies, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal.

The FCC would examine such arrangements to ensure that their terms are in fact favorable. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided not to reclassify broadband as a utility, which would give the FCC greater control over the market. Wheeler did, however, leave the possibility on the table. The FCC also wants greater transparency from broadband providers so consumers can more easily suss out details pertinent to their local service, such as speed and congestion.

Last, the Journal reports that wireless broadband companies won’t be subject to this proposal for now, but Wheeler is questioning if they should be allowed to make similar arrangements with content companies. Net Neutrality supporters prefer the idea that all web traffic is treated equally, with none held back or treated preferentially.

The FCC’s proposal won’t be voted on until May, and will then require several more steps before it can become law.

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