Government // Mobile & Wireless
News
5/12/2014
03:35 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

FCC Tweaks Net Neutrality Proposal

Facing pressure from critics, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler adjusts his broadband regulation proposal. But look at what's still on the table.

Google's 10 Big Bets On The Future
Google's 10 Big Bets On The Future
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has adjusted his proposal for regulating broadband Internet service to include a commitment that the agency will seek to prevent network providers from striking in pay-for-performance deals that put non-paying providers at a disadvantage.

The change follows objections to Wheeler's plan raised last week by more than 100 prominent Internet companies and two of the five FCC commissioners. The FCC has to draft new rules governing broadband providers, because a court rejected regulations put into place in 2010.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Wheeler's revised proposal would prevent broadband providers from slowing down online content but would continue to allow them to speed it up, through contractual arrangements for faster delivery.

However, slowing online content becomes unnecessary if the network provider simply offers insufficient bandwidth for specific applications, such as video streaming. If Netflix finds its videos are streaming in the equivalent of standard definition, and a competitor pays extra to ensure its videos can be viewed in high definition, Netflix presumably would have to strike a similar deal to remain competitive.

[How close are self-driving cars? Read Google Self-Driving Cars Get Smarter.]

The revised draft of Wheeler's rules reportedly seeks comment about whether "paid prioritization" should be banned and whether the broadband service should be regulated like a public utility, a classification that network providers have resisted on the grounds that it would hamper investment and stifle innovation. But seeking comment doesn't alter the proposal's basic endorsement of paid prioritization deals.

US Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) last month criticized Wheeler's initial proposal as misguided in a letter sent to the FCC chairman. "I am deeply disappointed that you are considering rules that would allow deep-pocketed companies to pay for preferential access to Internet Service Providers," Franken wrote in his letter. "Pay-to-play deals are an affront to net neutrality and have no place in an online marketplace that values competition and openness."

Franken expressed concern that endorsing Internet "fast lanes" would harm small businesses and raise costs for consumers.

Last week, Mozilla attempted to offer a middle ground, a proposal to recognize two distinct commercial relationships: "local delivery," the relationship between ISPs and consumers, and "remote delivery," the relationship between ISPs and Internet services, such as Netflix or an individual's website.

Mozilla has asked the FCC to reclassify remote delivery so that it falls under Title II of the Communications Act. This would allow the FCC to leave content services relatively free of regulation and to focus more on maintaining a level playing field for telecommunications services.

Wheeler's proposal has not yet been made public, but a revised draft reportedly could be circulated on Monday. If calls for a delay to accommodate further input go unheeded, the FCC is expected to begin the process of adopting its new rules with the release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on May 15.

Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators. Read ourInformationWeek Elite 100 issue today.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
ANON1249561150308
50%
50%
ANON1249561150308,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/15/2014 | 8:41:41 AM
Soon to arrive...
Soon ISPs, content and non-content providers, will be regulated to provide a percentage of their fee-based available bandwidth (for free) to "others". The difference, compared to any monopolistic instance we have seen in the past, is that the monopoly will not be privately held but owned by the Federal government looking to offer everything we would ever need as technology evolves (or not). Sound familiar?
Somedude8
50%
50%
Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
5/13/2014 | 10:42:22 AM
Meet the new Proposal
Same as the old Proposal?

Sounds like it to me.
majenkins
50%
50%
majenkins,
User Rank: Moderator
5/13/2014 | 10:06:12 AM
hamper investment and stifle innovation
Every time anyone suggests doing anything some company doesn't like their response is always this will "hamper investment and stifle innovation". Well if that were truly the case then by now there would be no investment or innovation left in this country. Gosh I get tired of the same old buzzword excuses. Personally I donít know which side of this is right and I suspect in the end whichever way it goes all of the people will continue to get their video and other content because all of the companies will continue to invest and innovate, at least to the extent that they really invest and innovate today as opposed to just paying big bonuses to their executives.
melgross
50%
50%
melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
5/12/2014 | 7:39:04 PM
Re: Netflix example
Not really. It will result in similar conditions in the end. We need, in this country, to decide what Internet piles are. Are they airwaves that must be open to all, or are they simply owned by the companies who lay them down? In France, a law was recently passed that for it's exactly what wheeler wants to do here. Good for them! Wheeler is operating much more like a conservitive appointee than a liberal one. It's time the Lresident gets involved in this and shuts it down.
dplocke
50%
50%
dplocke,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2014 | 5:03:18 PM
Best New Internet Speed/Net Neutrality Plan For Everyone!!!
Under my plan, no one is faster than anyone else.  There could be some sites, however, that might be slower than everyone else though. What that means is small or new users, which use negligible bandwidth would automatically be the fastest tier.  If particular throughput thresholds are hit by other sites then they would be slowed down by a predetermined factor. To get back to the fastest tier, they would have to pay a predetermined amount.  In this way the small entrepreneur would always be safeguarded and have the fastest speeds and those that "abuse" the bandwidth would have to pay to get back to speed.  This would seem to protect new ventures and have the big boys pay their fair share to make the internet operate as smoothly as possible without the whole burden being on Network providers. The beauty of this plan is that you can't pay to be faster than anyone else.  That's where the greed and corruption come in.......

 
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 4:48:46 PM
Re: Netflix example
Interesting to see the backlash -- and virtual protests -- taking shape from bloggers like this one from NeoCities...

https://neocities.org/blog/the-fcc-is-now-rate-limited

...who offers code that promises to "throttle all connections from the FCC to 28.8kbps modem speeds on the Neocities.org front site. --  and I'm not removing it until the FCC pays us for the bandwidth they've been wasting instead of doing their jobs protecting us from (what he calls) the "keep America's internet slow and expensive forever" lobby.
JeffL817
100%
0%
JeffL817,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2014 | 4:47:24 PM
Wheeler Misleads the Public
No surprises here. Wheeler is making a feeble attempt to disguise his efforts to put an end to Net Neutrality. He is even more devious than was first apparent. Shameful behavior for a so-called servant of the people. He is still nothing but a shill for the big ISPs. How stupid does he think we are?
Horrified
100%
0%
Horrified,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2014 | 4:18:27 PM
Re: Netflix example
This tweak changes nothing. We seem to have collectively forgotten, or at least the FCC has forgotten, that ISPs are using OUR public land for their rights-of-way, OUR telephone poles for their lines, and OUR grant of monopoly access, conferred by US, COLLECTIVELY. Now they want to use all this FREE STUFF to charge us (indirectly) for delivering the very service that we subsidized them to build out.

It is a colossal failure of government, akin to recreating the AT&T monopoloy of yesteryear. I remember crappy long distance phone service and the wagonloads of money we pumped into AT&T's coffers; the FCC seems to have forgotten.

 
tynkyr_belle
100%
0%
tynkyr_belle,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2014 | 4:06:37 PM
Re: Netflix example
If only people weren't such greedy bastards...
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 4:03:05 PM
Re: Netflix example
I think Mozilla's proposal would be a good start. We may be stuck with some form of paid prioritization because networking arrangements are not as simple as the debate suggests. If only network owners were banned from being in the content business.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 20, 2014
CIOs need people who know the ins and outs of cloud software stacks and security, and, most of all, can break through cultural resistance.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.