Feeds

RIP net neutrality? FCC mulls FAST LANES for info superhighway

Financial fast track to replace level playing field, report claims

New hybrid storage solutions

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist
Storage locker's transparency report shows rise in government data gobble attempts
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.