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FCC Will Allow Internet Fast Lane, Sidestepping 'Net Neutrality'

2014-04-24 09:29 by
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Breaking with his agency's long-standing position, the FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, will propose new rules that would allow broadband network owners to sell a high-speed toll road for content providers. If these rules are approved, companies like Disney, Google or Netflix will be able to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers. However, the proposal raised controversial reactions.

"This is not Net Neutrality," Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron said. "It's an insult to those who care about preserving the open Internet to pretend otherwise. The FCC had an opportunity to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under the law. Instead, in a moment of political cowardice and extreme shortsightedness, it has chosen this convoluted path that won't protect Internet users."

The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the FCC on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers.

The FCC's previous rules governing net neutrality were thrown out by a federal appeals court this year. The court said those rules had essentially treated Internet service providers as public utilities, which violated a previous FCC ruling that Internet links were not to be governed by the same strict regulation as telephone or electric service.

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