Feeds

RIP net neutrality? FCC mulls FAST LANES for info superhighway

Financial fast track to replace level playing field, report claims

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler has had a major change of heart when it comes to net neutrality, it's reported.

The The Wall Street Journal claims the FCC will propose new rules on net neutrality that would allow companies to pay for faster access to their websites and services, so long as they are sold on "commercially reasonable" terms. This breaks tradition with years of net neutrality, which has allowed all internet users a level competitive playing field.

According to the WSJ, the proposed FCC rules would go further; the agency is reportedly backing away from designating internet services as public utilities which must be provided equally for all, in favor of keeping them as information services, which can be run in whatever way the ISP chooses, within reason.

As a sop to neutrality fans, the proposed rules would forbid ISPs from blocking or slowing down access to legal websites, and ISPs that offer wired services would have to give a lot more information about their service speed on the last mile to customers.

The agency has been mulling the new rules ever since it lost its appeal in the case of Verizon v FCC back in January. Wheeler vowed to devise a new set of conditions to enforce net neutrality, so – if true – the new framework would be a complete U-turn that conflicts with the wishes of the White House.

"Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries," the White House said in February.

"The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide."

That's a point Google and some other technology companies have been hammering during an extensive round of lobbying on the issue. Google not only doesn’t want higher traffic charges on the internet, but also recognizes that it wouldn't exist without net neutrality, since search engines from Microsoft, Yahoo!, and others could simply have priced it out of the market.

The agency's press office wasn't returning calls from El Reg on Wednesday and it remains to be seen if the new rules are seriously being proposed. If so, they will arouse the ire of many companies, organizations, and Democratic legislators, and could end the practice of network neutrality – coined in 2003 by Prof Tim Wu – that has so far worked well for the internet. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.