FCC chairman proposes new net neutrality rules following Verizon decision

FCC chairman proposes new net neutrality rules following Verizon decision

Summary: The FCC chairman defended that the communications regulator is on the side of creators and innovators, not telco giants.


Following a firestorm that erupted last month in the wake of the Verizon v. FCC decision, Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has published a proposal he asserted will preserve the Internet as "an open platform for innovation and expression."

Examples of new rules being proposed to the Commission include drafting  sufficient legal rationales against blocking or data roaming discrimination, soliciting public input about protecting Internet freedom, and holding Internet service providers accountable to the 2010 Open Internet Order.

Wheeler also advised against any further judicial action in connection with the Verizon decision.

Wheeler's complete proposal with several more rule recommendations is available online now.

To recall, Verizon Wireless won a court challenge to net neutrality rules, leading the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to send the rules back to the FCC in January.

This immediately sparked a debate about the future of the Internet as the move essentially means broadband companies would be able to charge tech companies, such as Netflix or Hulu, more money for fast connections needed to deliver their services.

It's up to the FCC now to rewrite the rules, and Wheeler asserted that an open Internet prohibiting such charges " encourages broadband investment and that its absence could ultimately inhibit broadband deployment."

Recalling a recent talk to a group of startup entrepreneurs and programmers in Los Angeles, Wheeler defended that the FCC is on the side of creators, not telecommunications giants.

Their companies may succeed or they may fail depending on whether they are truly creative and innovative. But they and other innovators cannot be judged on their own merits if they are unfairly prevented from harnessing the full power of the Internet, which would harm the virtuous cycle of innovation that has benefitted [sic] consumers, edge providers, and broadband networks. This is why the FCC’s exercise of its authority to protect an open Internet is important.

Topics: Government US, Legal, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

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  • Opponents of net neutrality...

    ...might be happier of the FCC *was* on the side of the telcos.

    In the end, I think Congress is going to have to deal with the issue one way or another.
    John L. Ries
  • Pro or con business???

    "...the move essentially means broadband companies would be able to charge tech companies, such as Netflix or Hulu, more money for fast connections needed to deliver their services..."
    That sounds like the way Capitalism is supposed to run - participants pay their "fair share', or do not use - the opposite [everybody pays the same so everybody can play] sounds incredibly socialistic, dose it not?
    • Internet is not capitalism

      Whenever you start forcing companies to pay for broadband access it gets passed on to the people every time. If this was the case, you would have to pay for your ISP and then pay for access to those throttled sites. Basically it would be like logging on to a BBS, that's the ONLY service you will have, no surfing, just that BBS.
      The whole idea behind the internet was free access for all (not free access to an ISP, you still have to pay for that access unless your on netzero or something). The telcos knew this going in. If they don't agree with it, then they should bow out peaceably and let some other non-greedy company take over. It's just another way of nickle and diming everyone, and basically like a phone company wanting to charge you more money for using a fax modem or to call someone else that's not a customer of that same phone company. It's just WRONG and has nothing to do with capitalism, especially since the whole world isn't capitalist. The WWW is the WORLD WIDE NET, not the U.S. NET.
      • The internet works with capitalism, otherwise, there would be no internet,

        and if it existed as you propose, you'd have a very weak system of ISPs and a lot of content not worth "consuming".

        Google and MS and Apple and Amazon and Netflix and every other company that makes money through the internet, is a for-profit organization, and will, for the most part, work in capitalistic mode. The more one provides of a service, the more money one expects to make. Otherwise, why bother if you're not in it for the revenue and profits.

        So, while we might think that we're getting a lot of "free" content, over the WWW, we're still paying for it. And no, I'm not talking about the regular monthly fees we pay to our ISPs. We're paying through clicks that take us to advertising and to services which provide content worth consuming.

        So, check what you think is happening, and rethink your perceptions.
    • Socialistic?

      Your lack of comprehension of business profits is understandable. You've actually got it backwards. I am typing this through my ISP, a cable company. I pay for a certain level of broadband to access websites and send email. My fees are all they are entitled to. Otherwise any new business would have to pay from their end as well.

      If you were really thinking rather than parroting Faux news, you'd be rallying for an equal competitor in every city and town. Right now cable providers have a monopoly on broadband Verizon is doing too little too late. Why no cable broadband competition? Because they use the excuse that we have other options such as dial up and satellite.

      If you were truly for enterprise, you'd insist on an equal broadband competitor in each city and town. Did you know the cable companies have lobbied (paid) for and gotten state legislators to pass laws that prohibit municipal broadband started by cities for their citizens which would only charge costs not need profits, as several small and large cities have done.

      Let's get some laws repealed and allow competition in every broadband market. Of course we also need to reclassify broadband as required utilities, not an entertainment service.

      Is the argument it is an essential service like phones valid?

      Here us your acid test. pick any ten people who work. then pick any medium size business, and any federal entity like the FCC. Turn off their Internet access for one week. they could not function anymore than if you took away their phones.

      it is a service we pay for. Their attempt to charge both ends would be the same as a telephone company that charges for me to pay for long distance, charge the person getting the call from me too. I can call a long distance restricted phone number. When I dial up Netflix, as it were, on my Cable access, they have already collected per month from me. I have already paid Netflix. This blackmail by cable companies and telcos with fiber can only work as long as we let them keep monopoly areas with a use it or suck it up greed.
      • So, how does "Faux" news figure into this discussion?

        That you like to get your "news" filtered through the state controlled liberal media sources, doesn't mean that FOX news is doing the same. FOX is the only station with any kind of credibility in TV network news.

        So, it's you that has the "faux" mindset. In other words, you are getting the "faux" news that you seek, and they are your liberal stations all over the country.

        Learn the difference between news and talking points and biased delivery of your news. FOX is probably in your mind because, you can't handle that there is a news source that is actually telling the truth.
        • Why is this an issue?

          The very fact that you are mentioning FOX news indicates that you value one media content over the other. That is your right, and thankfully we live in a country where you have the freedom to do so.

          Net neutrality rulings cover a lot more than just bandwidth restrictions. If you go past the news broadcast and read the actual FCC proposed rules you will find that there are some serious issues beyond bandwidth restrictions.

          The concept of content filtering terrifies me, and it should terrify anybody that values liberties.
          For example lets say "Fox News" said something bad about ISP provider X.
          ISP Provider X will have every right to block that sight from it's users.
          So Lets say you want to go to the "Fox News" web site. It will not be there. It could be gone.
          Or worse yet the ISP would have all legal right to spoof the "Fox News" website and change the content. So when you are at home reading the "Fox News" website you are actually reading something else that your ISP posted there and making it look like the content is ligament.

          I know what most of you are thinking. This would never happen, or that would be illegal. But, it isn't illegal according to the proposed changes and it has happened in the past. (thus why it was made illegal) Also, the concept of switching ISPs in a free market will not work because there is no stopping all ISPs from blocking the same content.

          This is a very common practice in other countries. For example if you search on Google in China you get very different results than in the US because the government owned infrastructure alters the Google results.

          Imagine what type of power an ISP would have. It would have the power to alter economics and politicians. I like to verify facts and read the raw source. I depend on the internet for this. For example reading this FCC proposal, or looking up history on politicians.
          With this proposal an ISP could alter documents that I look at.
          They could say that a politician did something horrible and you would never know that it is a lie.

          This is ripping away our freedom of speech, and the worse thing about it is that most people aren't even aware of it.

          This issue with Netflix and Hulu being bandwidth hogs is a serious issue, but this proposal is not the way to fix it.

          I don't know why the bandwidth portion of this proposal is getting so much attention while the very serious stuff is being ignored.
          • RDEngineer: You must be blind to reality, and ti what is really going on

            all around you.

            First off, I wasn't the one that brought up the topic of FOX news. The person above me in my prior post did. I just responded to his silly and biased comments. Perhaps you should check the "content" of what you read, and the "context" in which it's written. Coming in blindly into a discussion just makes you sound foolish.

            Now, I'm not arguing for or against Verizon, nor for or against Netflix or other content providers.

            As a conservative, I'm against control of content, but, the content is not the question being in this whole discussion. We're talking about the amount of content, and not the material of that content. The amount of content is what eats up ISP broadband, and that's where I'll take the side of Verizon and any other ISP. Netflix is using more bandwidth than "normal" internet traffic, so, why not charge them more for using that extra bandwidth?

            If ISPs are also content providers, then I could see a bit of a conflict. But, as long as they don't abuse their position to block other content providers, then I don't see a problem. It's a matter of monitoring how bad it gets, and whether there is abuse from any side.

            So far, however, this "net neutrality" is not about the type of content, which would be a violation of free speech rights, but if it ever gets to that, I'd be the first to march on Washington to get bills and regulations to stop it.
    • Well, except

      For the fact that the internet/service providers in question (namely Comcast and Verizon) also happen to be Cable TV providers. So if you own major backbones of internet service, and you provide Cable TV service, do you not see it as a conflict of interest that they should be able to charge XX fee to the common person or business, but charge substantially more to streaming tv services like Hulu and Netflix (above and beyond what they already are paying) for no other reason than to stifle the competition.

      FYI, if Hulu and Netflix get ganked by verizon and comcast guess who will be paying for it in the end?
  • Anything we can do too back Corporations, while screwing the little people

    I don't think there is one single government agency that actually does anything for the people. They all pass legislation written by the interested party of Companies. My Comcast got zapped this morning, I have no channels left unless I get their rented box. So much for government protections.
  • We The People - need protection

    I'm all for free markets, but capitalism needs reasonable guidelines to function (otherwise insider trading would be legal). The FCC needs to be empowered to protect BOTH sides of the link. Consumers should pay tiered pricing depending on bandwidth, not content. That should mandated. Regarding upstream peering, that should also be mandated to be "free", meaning neither side can charge the other. This protects Netflix from having to pay every ISP out there, but also protects ISPs from the alternative scenario (Netflix becomes so powerful that THEY charge too peer). The cost to build and maintain those peering links should be factored into the price charged to the end consumer (access fees for ISPs, subscription fees for Netflix). FCC should then ensure that every broadband market has healthy competition. Don't like the Netflix speed you get via ISP-X, then switch to ISP-Y. There will be exceptions, but this kind of policy would generally fix the whole thing.
  • YES!!!! People need to be protected from monopolies

    The last mile providers such as Verizon and Comcast need to be put in check. They collect massive revenues from consumers connecting to them from content and want to double-dip on the other side!!!

    Not in favour of government intervention and if the industry was able to self-regulate, we would not see this NONSENSE!
  • Profiteering Utility

    Unfortunately while the Internet is for all intents and purposes a public utility, there are those who insist in deregulation, which inevitably will lead to some serious profiteering. The end of Net Neutrality unfortunately will NOT benefit the ordinary user by reducing his costs as a result of making those who use the net heavily pay "their fair share", it will only increase the bottom like for the companies who own the backbone. The internet needs to be regulated just like any utility. There is a long history of abuse when there isn't any regulation....... competition inevitably is replaced by collusion.
  • Profiteering Utility

    There are monkeys/ shills who wave the pure capitalism flag as a gold standard without considering the constraints and exceptions required to integrate smoothly with society.
    The primary goal of capitalism is maximum returns to the shareholders. When the impact is on the public interest e.g. banking, telecoms, utilities and transport then regulation is required to ensure that the pure profit interest does not (overly) take precedent over public interest.
    Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. We have seen examples where regulation was non-existent or not sufficiently enforced e.g CDO's & sub-prime lending in the US, loan/building boom & Anglo-Irish debacle in Ireland.
    The Internet is a new frontier. Old business models are being undermined by the likes of NetFlix, Skype, WhatsApp and Viber. Telcos want to maintain their current business models by restricting the terms of bandwidth usage so that they can preferentially charge for these technology substitutes. The current arguments are a smokescreen for this policy and unfortunately, our politicians/legislators are a small/visible and occasionally (!) greedy target.
  • Public Goods

    Public utilities have historically been regulated or owned by the public because they are monopolies. Don't monopolies interfere with the "invisible hand" of the marketplace?

    The pursuit of private profit too often comes through abuse of the nation and the citizens.

    Libertarianism is a faith, not a philosophy. It can't be taken seriously until it recognizes and addresses the abuse of economic power along with abuses of political and cultural power.