Net neutrality has been a hot topic in the technology community, as the Federal Communications Commission ignited the ire of many by essentially tossing it out the window. After net neutrality advocates blasted FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, he decided to revise his proposals. According to USA Today, they now suggest that some types of so-called “fast lanes” for Internet content companies be banned.
FCC commissioners review net neutrality proposals
Today FCC commissioners will receive copies of the proposals for review ahead of their vote on them Thursday. Wheeler is requesting comment from the commissioners. The issue is whether Internet content companies will be allowed to pay service providers for faster connections to consumers’ homes.
A federal appeals court tossed out the agency’s net neutrality rules in January. The rules were known as Open Internet. Because they were tossed out, service providers became able to discriminate against data sent through their connections—purportedly based on how much content providers were willing to pay for faster connections. If the FCC chooses not to come down on the side of net neutrality, only companies with deep pockets will be able to pay for fast connection speeds, leaving startups vulnerable to whatever bandwidth is left.
Wheeler’s previous proposal allowed service providers to offer fast Internet lanes for content providers to buy—if others could also have access to them on “commercially reasonable” terms. This new version of the proposal doesn’t completely ban theses fast lanes, allowing certain cases to use them. For example, a healthcare company may be able to send test results through more quickly.
Companies push for net neutrality
Several major technology companies sent letters to the FCC to support strong net neutrality rules. They want to keep Internet service providers from charging them for fast lanes in the final mile of the connection. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) are just a handful of more than 100 technology giants that are supporting net neutrality.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) recently struck deals with Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NASDAQ:CMCSK) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) for faster Internet speeds. However, the video streaming provider said it signed the deals reluctantly.