Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed sweeping federal rules to regulate the Internet like a public utility. Wheeler’s plan follows a similar plan laid out by President Obama three months ago.
The plan “assures the rights of Internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission,” Wheeler wrote in an essay.
Under the FCC’s new rules, broadband service providers would be 100% banned from blocking access to legal content, slowing delivery speed based on content or source, or favoring some content providers by giving them preferential delivery speeds.
“In other words,” Wheeler said, “no fast lanes.”
Under terms of the agreement the net neutrality rules would apply equally to wired and wireless service providers.
Advocated for net neutrality have long claimed that the barrier to entry would become too expensive if company’s like Google and Netflix could pay for better service than other content providers.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association said the rules would impose the “heavy burden” of utility regulation on the Internet. They claim that internet service providers (ISPs) would simply stop updating their infrastructures if network congestion caused a loss of money.
Wheeler’s proposal must be approved by four FCC commissioners, who are scheduled to vote on net neutrality in a public meeting on February 26, 2015.
The FCC will not be able to regulate Internet rates or authorize new local or federal taxes under the current proposal.
At least one company partially agreement with President Obama. Comcast says it fully supports “a free and open Internet.”
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