If approved, a regulation could
allow big Internet service providers to charge more for faster and more
efficient delivery of content. Photo: Istockphoto
new regulations, if approved after a four-month period of comment and review,
could allow big Internet service providers to charge more for faster and more
efficient delivery of content.
Science Vs. Internet Trolls
across the Internet, scientists are forced to continually defend their work
against a group of people discounting their research.
The vote was along party lines,
with Democratic appointees Tom Wheeler, the chairman, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica
Rosenworcel approving the effort to develop new rules they argue will keep the
Internet “open.” The FCC vote comes in the wake of two recent court rulings that
struck down past FCC efforts to impose regulations on the Internet.
Republican appointees Ajit Pai and Michael O'Reilly voted against moving forward
with the new regulations, saying the proposal reaches beyond the scope of the
FCC’s responsibilities. Pai said if new regulations are needed, Congress should
vote kicks off a 120-day rulemaking process, with public comments due July 15.
Responding to vocal public opposition to his proposal, Wheeler defended the new
regulations, saying they are intended to preserve an “open” Internet and would
prevent discrimination of content.
“There is one Internet. It must be fast, it must be robust, it must be open,”
Wheeler said in comments prior to the vote. “The prospect of a gatekeeper
choosing winners and losers is unacceptable. I will not allow the national asset
of an open Internet to be compromised.”
Critics of the proposal, which include consumer activist groups and a large
swath of Web content and service providers, say approval of the plan would
create a two-tiered Internet, where deep-pocketed companies could pay for better
service and start-ups would be left behind.
critics say the FCC’s proposal would create a “fast lane” and a “slow lane” on
“Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a
disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford
these unnecessary tolls. These users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt
road, while deep-pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly
created fast lanes,” Craig Aaron, president of activist group Free Press said in
a recent statement.
Wheeler released a draft of his plan last month, but then revised it after a
number of tech companies including Google (GOOG) and Netflix (NFLX) as well as
two FCC commissioners criticized the plan for dividing the Internet into slow
and fast lanes.
plan, according to the critics, would eliminate net neutrality -- the principle
that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally.
revised draft doesn’t allow companies to prioritize content delivery and
includes language that ensures providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies'
content at a disadvantage.
decision is likely to face legal challenges.
FCC’s meeting in Washington drew hundreds of protesters, rare for a vote by the
federal regulatory agency and an indication of the broad ramifications and
strong emotions surrounding the issue.
opponents of the FCC proposal support converting ISPs into utilities like
telephone companies that would be subject to even greater government regulation.
Republicans in Congress say further regulations on the web would curb investment
and stifle innovation.
George Foote, a Washington-based attorney who has represented telecommunications
companies in regulatory cases, said the revisions proposed by Wheeler would
protect and ultimately benefit Internet users.
whole debate about net neutrality has been hijacked by self-interest and
sidetracked by a poor metaphor,” he said. “If service is to be upgraded in the
future, who pays for the improvement? If the new policy strengthens the FCC’s
hand to prevent discrimination in favor of affiliated companies, who is to
week 100 Internet companies, including powerhouses Google, Facebook (FB),
Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO), signed a letter voicing opposition to the
companies advocated for a “free and open Internet,” suggesting the proposed
rules could create an Internet where larger, wealthier companies would have a
distinct advantage over smaller companies.
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