Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Grassroots Outcry Pushes FCC Chair to Backpedal on Internet Rules

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Politics and Democracy Page.

Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler is backpedaling on his proposed rules that would threaten the democracy of the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday evening.

The updated draft follows widespread outcry against Wheeler's proposal, unveiled last month, which would allow Internet service providers to charge an extra fee to content companies for preferential treatment in the form of "fast lanes," effectively marginalizing the content of users who do not pay. Critics charged that this "pay-to-play" model would threaten the democratic nature of the open Internet, destroying net neutrality.

However, supporters of an open Internet say that the changes fall short and are a "non-fix," according to TechCrunch, because they preserve the option of pay-for-speed.

According to the WSJ,

In the new draft, Mr. Wheeler is sticking to the same basic approach but will include language that would make clear that the FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies' content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official.

The official said the draft would also seek comment on whether such agreements, called "paid prioritization," should be banned outright, and look to prohibit the big broadband companies, such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc., from doing deals with some content companies on terms that they aren't offering to others.

The one significant change reported by the WSJ, according to advocates, is that Wheeler is now seeking comment on whether broadband Internet service should be reclassified as a public utility-instead of its current classification as an information service-which would allow for it to be subject to greater regulation. In the past, Internet service providers, or ISPs, have fiercely opposed such a move.

The new rules are set to be voted on as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) during a May 15th FCC meeting. The NPRM both serves as a proposal to issue new regulations and an invitation for the public to comment on it.         
Get 20% off Mercola products, plus 20% of the sale goes to Organic Consumers Association.

Get Local

Find News and Action for your state:
Regeneration International

Cool the planet.
Feed the world.