FCC to Push for Slightly Stronger Controls in Net Neutrality Fight

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is reversing course -- but only a little -- with his stance on enforcing net neutrality in the United States. New wording for proposed controls over net neutrality could be revealed as early as Monday, and while they won't stop carriers from striking bandwidth deals with content providers, they would include some restrictions he thinks will prevent dividing the Internet into fast and slow lanes.

FCC is leaning more towards true net neutrality, but still isn't thereFCC is leaning more towards true net neutrality, but still isn't there

The current proposed rules would let companies such as Comcast and Verizon strike deals with content providers like Netflix for guaranteed faster data transfer through their networks. In effect, it would create a scenario where companies that can afford to pay will reliably get their data through to consumers, while others face lost data packets and degraded file transfer or streaming speeds.

Based on the current wording, ISPs can strike their deals, and then the FCC would launch an investigation into whether or not they're fair after a complaint is filed. The new wording will have the FCC more actively looking into those deals to make sure they don't place companies that haven't at a disadvantage, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The deals, called paid prioritization, sound like exactly the sort of thing that would put some companies at a disadvantage because the end result is exactly what the FCC says it's preventing: fast and slow lanes for Internet traffic.

Mr. Wheeler's proposed FCC rules don't fit completely with the concept of net neutrality where all data is treated equally as it passes through networks. His new changes, however, could help curb abuse by at least some ISPs.

"I won't allow some companies to force Internet users into a slow lane so that others with special privileges can have superior service," he said.

His new wording will also seek comments on whether or not Internet service should be considered a public utility -- something that the ISPs have been resisting, and so far Mr. Wheeler has been reluctant to push for. If Internet access were classified as a public utility, it would give the FCC broader control over how it operates, and that's something ISPs don't want.

Mr. Wheeler is pushing for a vote this Thursday that would then open the process to public comments. Once that happens, it's a safe bet that the following debate will be heated considering the control ISPs want directly clashes with the unfettered data flow net neutrality proponents are hoping for.

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The likelihood the United States will have true net neutrality seems fairly slim considering how strongly ISPs are pushing for bandwidth deals. The trick now is to avoid a caste system for content and users.

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John Dingler, artist

Yeah, sure, and then Rightwingers will defund watchdogs tasked with monitoring any abuse which means net neutrality is dead just as telecoms and Rightwingers like Wheeler wants.

The only solution that is fair and equitable to normal people rather than the corporation is to reclassify our access to the internet as a utility serving the broader public.

Simon Smith

South America leads North America on net neutrality. How can this be?
At least 10 right minded Senators who have turned their back on the billionare lobbyists and are waking up to what getting rid of “net neutrality” will mean.
I still don’t think they realise the extent of the reverse engineering aspects of the FCC proposals that will hit Google…Facebook…free speech.

Of a huge….enormous concern is that it is moving towards political interference, “on steroids,” of the internet. We already see the FCC trying to get monitors into newsrooms and the FEC warning about the war that the Obama administration and Democrats want to wage through these agencies on conservative America.  But it is not just conservative America that should be worried but all Americans who value free speech for it should be neither corporations or governments speeding up…slowing down and cutting off free speech.

Where there is a toll there are vested interests and enemies of free speech on the payroll.


This is great news. Thank you Senators who value free speech and despise government and corporations machinery from discriminating against it. Having said this Facebook does a lot of censorship and it should stop being a hypocrite in their FCC complaints regarding free speech being at risk.


Even with these proposed changes, this bodes ill for Americans.

Why should you care?

- Streaming content to your TV or computer will be slower and/or more expensive, with fewer choices.
- Movies could halt midstream a lot, or will require a complete download before even starting. You might have to buy more equipment to do this.
- You could be blocked from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, and similar.
- Your internet provider could decide to block Google or Yahoo in favor of its own search engine, saying it’s in the interest of better “quality of service.”
- Data plans on your cell phone will probably cost more and/or be slower.
- A closed internet may have restricted access to necessary web standards, artificially degrade some services, or explicitly filter out content, adversely effecting our freedom and democracy.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is just pretending to back down. Wireless expert Brad Reed, who spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World, says: “Basically, this is the exact same endgame as the one in Wheeler’s original plan, only this time he’s decided to add some more language to assure us that the plan really isn’t supposed to do what he’s designed it to do.”

IMO, Wheeler, a former cable lobbyist, is a fox guarding our henhouse. This is another example of the level of corruption in our government due to campaign finance laws that are really just bribery. Wheeler has got to go.

Lee Dronick

I usually don’t care much for the opinions of Supreme Court Justice Scalia, but in the case of Net Neutrality he pretty much nails it.



Lee, that’s a good argument about delivery, but I fear you may be giving Scalia. I’d wager it’s his staffers that came up with that. I wonder if Scalia still believes in that argument.

Lee Dronick

  Lee, that’s a good argument about delivery, but I fear you may be giving Scalia. I’d wager it’s his staffers that came up with that.

No doubt. Well at least he didn’t say that “Net Neutrality is a series of tubes.” smile

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