November 24, 2014

Net Neutrality: In New Blog Post FCC Chairman Sets the “Record Straight” on Open Internet Plans

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In the past 24 hours there have been reports from the New York TimesWall St. Journal, and others that the FCC was planning to reverse their policies regarding the open Internet.

The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.

Last night, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler denied these reports saying they were “flat out wrong.”

TODAY, Wheeler posted on the Official FCC Blog about these reports and what the FCC is planning to do.

He writes:

Incorrect accounts have reported that the earlier policies of the Commission have been abandoned. Two points are relevant here:

  1. The Court of Appeals made it clear that the FCC could stop harmful conduct if it were found to not be “commercially reasonable.” Acting within the constraints of the Court’s decision, the Notice will propose rules that establish a high bar for what is “commercially reasonable.” In addition, the Notice will seek ideas on other approaches to achieve this important goal consistent with the Court’s decision. The Notice will also observe that the Commission believes it has the authority under Supreme Court precedent to identify behavior that is flatly illegal.
  2. It should be noted that even Title II regulation (which many have sought and which remains a clear alternative) only bans “unjust and unreasonable discrimination.”

He Adds:

To be clear, this is what the Notice will propose:

  1. That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
  2. That no legal content may be blocked; and
  3. That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.

FCC Chairman Wheeler wants have enforceable rules in place by the end of 2014.

Net neutrality will be discussed at the May 2014 FCC Open Meeting on May 24th.

The Commission will consider a Report and Order that adopts key policies and rules for the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented, market-driven process for repurposing spectrum for mobile broadband use, and promoting competition and innovation.

Direct to Full Text Blog Post, “Setting the Record Straight on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules” (384 Words)

Reaction/Coverage of Wheeler’s Comments

From The Verge: “FCC fails to clarify new net neutrality plans”

The big question is what the FCC considers to be reasonable. Right now, the commission doesn’t have a final answer. “We don’t know,” a spokesperson said today. “We want to have a broad public debate. We want to know how people are affected in their daily life. We want to know how businesses are being affected. We want to know if innovation is being affected.”

From Steve Kovach at Business Insider:

The proposal still favors big companies like Netflix that can afford to pay Internet providers for direct access to customers. Other competitors may not be slowed down, but they won’t be able to compete on the same level as the big guys. That hurts competition and innovation.

From Center for Digital Democracy: “Wheeler’s Plan at FCC to Kill Net Neutrality for Digital Highway Must be Opposed/role as cable lobbyist should be issue”

See Also: Tentative Agenda for May 2014 FCC Open Meeting (Scheduled for May 15th)

See Also: Net Neutrality: FCC Will Not Appeal Recent Court Ruling, Plan to Rewrite Open Internet Rules Announced (February 19, 2014)

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.