The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted Thursday 3-2 to move forward with its new net neutrality idea. The federal net neutrality rules determine and will determine how all internet traffic in the United States is handled. In other words, will traffic from to and from all websites be treated equally as it is now or will bandwidth hogs like Netflix get charged more by ISPs to supply the higher traffic to its viewers? Only time will tell us the answer. As of right now, the FCC has opened the floor for public comment by anyone on this issue. Here are the details on the upcoming proposal:

The proposal includes two primary options. The first option, a scaled-back version of the FCC’s 2010 rules that were struck down by a federal appeals court, would allow companies to strike pay-for-preference deals that are scrutinized by the FCC. The second, more dramatic option would reclassify broadband service as a public utility, making it eligible for stricter regulation including a ban on pay-for-preference deals.

The FCC’s new proposal is based on the comments from the D.C. Court of Appeals that struck down the 2010 rules. The new regulation would not preclude companies from signing paid prioritization deals, but would include “a rigorous, multi-factor ‘screen’ to analyze whether any conduct hurts consumers, competition, free expression, civic engagement, and other criteria under a legal standard termed ‘commercial reasonableness,’” the FCC wrote in a press release.

That means companies would be allowed to sign deals, but the contracts would then need to be defended under the “commercial reasonableness” standard.

The proposal now goes through a comment period in which the FCC listens to everyone from industry advocates and lobbyists to think tanks and politicians. The FCC then writes a final set of rules that are voted on. That is not expected to happen until late in the year.

Whatever the outcome will be, the obvious and best outcome would be if all broadband providers were classified as common carriers – this would inevitably lead to lower monthly costs for all users and would probably lead to faster download speeds for everyone overall. Let’s hope they don’t choose the other option or we could all be left paying through the nose to watch House of Cards on Netflix.


Source: Mashable