TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

FCC chairman bans some 'fast lanes' in net neutrality

Daily Photo Galleries

By USA Today
Monday, May 12, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
 

Responding to waves of criticism, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is revising his net neutrality rule proposals to include a ban on certain types of “fast lanes” for content companies that are willing to pay Internet service providers for the upgrade.

The revision, which seeks comments from the agency's other commissioners, was circulated on Monday as they get ready to vote Thursday on the proposals.

Wheeler's latest revision doesn't entirely ban Internet fast lanes and will leave room for some deals, including public-interest cases such as a health care company sending electrocardiography results.

But unlike his initial proposal last month, Wheeler is seeking to specifically ban certain types of fast lanes, including prioritization given by ISPs to subsidiaries that make and stream content, according to an FCC official who wasn't authorized to talk about the revisions publicly before the vote. The FCC would retain powers to review any prioritization deals that may pose public harm.

Wheeler is open to applying some “common carrier” rules that regulate telephone companies, which would result in more stringent oversight of the ISPs in commercial transactions.

On Jan. 15, a federal appeals court threw out the FCC's net neutrality rules — called Open Internet — removing any legal barriers that would stop Internet service providers from interfering with or discriminating against any data sent through their pipes.

Last month, Wheeler presented a new draft of the rules. But they included provisions that would allow fast lanes to consumers' homes that content providers can buy from ISPs as long as the opportunities are available to others on “commercially reasonable” terms.

Netflix's recent maneuvers to improve the streaming speeds of its movies and shows have underscored the complexities behind the business of delivering content from the source to “the last mile,” which connects the ISPs and their consumers. Netflix said it “reluctantly” agreed to pay to have Comcast and Verizon connect directly to Netflix's servers — rather than going through third-party Internet content distributors — and urged the FCC to tighten rules on such deals.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Damaged Jersey shore pier to be rebuilt
  2. Supreme Court allows Obamacare’s Medicare costs board to stand
  3. Military leaders leery of letting in transgenders
  4. GOP budget proposal guts federal spending, health care
  5. Experts skeptical of N.D.’s new oil train safety checks
  6. Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study
  7. A revolt is growing as more people refuse to pay back student loans
  8. Appalachian miners wiped out by coal glut they can’t reverse
  9. Benghazi panel formally requests private interview with Hillary
  10. Indiana governor wants changes to religious-objection law