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FCC makes lousy net neutrality decision

The FCC is trying to kill the very thing that made the Internet great: net neutrality. This decision can not stand.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided by a 3-2 vote that it would allow telecommunications and broadband providers to charge content providers for preferential treatment across their networks. Simultaneously, and confusingly, the FCC also stated that broadband companies could not slow down or block incoming traffic outright.

If the FCC's proposed new net neutrality rules are allowed to stand, this could be what your future Internet looks like.

Give me a break! What kind of morons does the FCC think we are? If everyone doesn't have equal free access to the "fast lanes" then the FCC has made sure that some traffic will be slower than other traffic. And, what that means is that big companies with deep pockets will dominate the Internet. Small companies? Innovators? Start-ups? They won't have a chance in hell of competing.

Internet users want fast, faster, and the fastest Internet. No company is going to use a cloud service that's not the fastest possible. No one will watch video from a content provider if their streaming slows down during prime time.

I'd been using the Internet since before there was a commercial Internet. When the Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX) laid the cornerstone for the modern Internet, part of the idea for net neutrality was to make sure the net wasn't censored. But, having attended some of those early meetings and been on the mailing lists at the time, an equally important part was to make sure that everyone—companies, ISPs, and users — had a level playing field.

The FCC is tilting the game in favor of the last-mile ISPs such as Comcast and Time-Warner Cable. They get to charge the Web's top companies more money, which in turn will end up passed on to us — the end users. What a great deal... for them! Indeed, else is ending up getting screwed.

What else could we expect though from FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, the former top-executive and lobbyist for the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)? He's taking care of his old buddies.

You want to know one really funny thing about all this. You might think that today's dominant Internet companies would favor this move as well. After all, while they'd end up paying more, this move would make sure they wouldn't have competition in the future. Guess what? The top cloud company, Amazon; the top Web company, Google; and the top Internet video company, Netflix, all oppose this change. They, under the umbrella of the Ammori Group, a Washington DC-based public policy law-firm, all want the old-style net neutrality where companies can compete fairly with each other.

Heck, even the Internet providers, such as Level 3, which provides Internet service to the last mile ISPs want good, old net neutrality and not this new abomination. When the only ones supporting the FCC's new position are the handful of companies that will directly benefit from it, is that really a fair position? I don't think so.

It's not too late to stop this. At this stage, the new rules are only a proposal. You can comment on this change by going to the FCC Comments Page and getting your say in by entering a statement of your position under Proceeding # 14-28: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet. If we make a big enough noise, these rules will not be passed.

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