Thursday, April 24, 2014

FCC new Net Neutrality rules are around the corner

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Over the past few months the new FCC boss Tom Wheeler has been investigating Net Neutrality guidelines and is preparing a draft for an FCC meeting on May 15. Reports indicate that the agency may try the same rules used before, but cite them under a different part of the law. However, groups supporting Net Neutrality worry that the rules won’t hold up in court just like current laws being referenced. The FCC does have the ability to write in some new rules under Section 706 of the Communication Act, which is designed help with the deployment of advanced telecommunications to all Americans. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that ISP’s won’t be able to block websites outright, but there isn’t a rule in place for interconnection feuds between the ISP and content providers like Netflix. 

Unless there are additional rules written for interconnections between content providers and ISP’s consumers could still see a broken Internet unless content providers cough up extra money for priority access. The FCC thinks that it’s okay for traffic preferential treatment as long as other websites aren’t blocked or discriminated against. This view means we could soon see specific content get priority access over other sites making it harder for companies to enter the content space if they can’t pay the transit fees for “preferred access”. Now we must wait until May 15th to see what develops on the new regulations, but it’s clear that we may soon see the Internet move towards a premium TV model where you’ll end up paying more to access various content across the web.