Net Neutrality activists are expressing outrage over the FCC’s new plan that would allow companies to purchase faster access to users from broadband providers. In reaction to the proposal, many Net Neutrality supporters have claimed that the FCC has made a complete “turnaround in policy” which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has refuted.
This decision was an attempted compromise between the FCC’s previous policy of Net Neutrality and the demands of corporations to be able to control what internet sites their clients have access to. The proposal, developed by Chairman Wheeler, is in reaction to the January district court decision that favored Verizon’s appeal. The court stated that the FCC didn’t have the legal authority to consider broadband internet service in a different category then phone service, which they had done in order to enforce their open internet policy.
This policy would force companies such as Google or Amazon to negotiate with broadband providers to maintain fast access speeds to the people, something they’ve already been doing to varying degrees. However this legal backing would give them a major advantage over other smaller sites and make entrepreneurship on the internet incredibly difficult if they were in direct competition with any of these “premium” sites and couldn’t afford to pay the fees.
For an example, let’s say these policies aren’t refuted and you have Comcast. Google, Facebook, and Entertainment Weekly have made deals with Comcast so those sites load normally or even quicker then they do now. However a site like Geek Juice, that may not be able to pay such fees, will take longer to load.
The current rules do prevent ISPs from blocking or slowing sites, instead forcing them to set standards that are “commercially reasonable.” These “commercially reasonable” practices will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the FCC.
The FCC commission is currently reviewing the proposal and if they approve it they will then take public comments. The final regulations would assumably be written by the end of the summer.