FCC Proposes New Net Neutrality Rules

Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, isn’t ready to give up on Internet neutrality regulations yet, so he’s hoping to bring broadband Internet access under rules originally intended to control traditional landline telephone access. If successful, Mr. Genachowski’s changes would force broadband service providers to treat all Internet traffic equally instead of potentially throttling speeds for certain types of data, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Assuming the FCC can push through the reclassification of broadband Internet access, the agency would have more authority over how service providers manage customer data on their networks.

For consumers, that could be good news since the FCC would be able to block companies like Comcast and AT&T from blocking access to certain Web sites and throttling down connection speeds when users want to use high-bandwidth services to stream videos or use video and audio chat services like Skype.

Big name Internet companies like Amazon.com and Google have been pushing for stronger regulations to prevent bandwidth throttling, but ISPs haven’t been supportive of the idea. Some cable and telecom companies have threatened to cut jobs, dramatically scale back network upgrades, and even fight the new regulations in court.

Mr. Genachowski said the FCC won’t include all current phone regulations in its broadband policies, and will put strict guidelines in place “to guard against regulatory overreach.”

Despite Mr. Genachowski’s promises, services providers are still concerned because they want to be able to treat some types of Internet traffic differently.

Assuming the FCC gains approval to reclassify broadband Internet access, service providers will most likely take their battle into the court room, and that could potentially leave the new regulations in legal limbo for several years.