Net Neutrality Back In The Spotlight At The FCC

Net Neutrality Back In The Spotlight At The FCC
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Net neutrality has been a hot topic in the technology community and will remain so as regulators consider rules on the topic. Debate on the issue has been going on for months, and Bloomberg Businessweek reports that over 1 million comments have been received by the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC weighs net neutrality comments

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is now considering whether wireless internet providers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) should be barred from giving preference to some types of web traffic. Net neutrality is a call for internet service providers to treat all traffic the same instead of giving preference to traffic from companies that pay for a so-called “fast lane.”

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The issue under consideration is whether wireless internet providers should be bound by the same rules as wired providers.

FCC criticized for ditching net neutrality

In May, Wheeler decided that internet service providers are allowed to take payments for fast lanes on the internet. That decision ignited the ire of the technology community and has drawn protest after protest online from coalitions of companies uniting under the net neutrality issue.

If net neutrality is completely done away with, then it means that companies with deep pockets will be able to get their traffic moving along at a fast pace. Meanwhile smaller companies will languish in the slow lane, unable to grow their traffic because they don’t have the funds available to do so.

Will the FCC change its stance?

Because of how much opposition there is to Wheeler’s original decision on the issue, experts think it’s possible that he may be beginning to take a “more open view,” according to Bingham McCutchen partner Andrew Lipman, who spoke with Bloomberg.

As of Sept. 10, the FCC had received 1.5 million public comments on net neutrality, according to the agency’s special counsel for external fairs. The Sunlight Foundation reportedly analyzed the comments and found that most of them oppose Wheeler’s original proposal and support net neutrality.

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